The wash out in the Swamp was disappointing for the Florida Gators and their fans last Saturday but the game that was deemed a no-contest has only fueled the hunger for football and this week’s opponent in Eastern Michigan.
The excitement travels from the players all the way to the announcers who will call the game on Saturday and Gator Country had the opportunity to talk with ESPN announcer Tom Hart.
If you’re not familiar with Hart he’s one of the best in the business in keeping his audience engaged and many Florida fans will remember his work from past Florida Gators basketball and baseball game.
With that being said here’s a question and answer with Mr. Tom Hart that covers what he’s looking forward to this weekend from Kurt Roper and the game in general.
Q.) What you’re looking for out of the Florida vs. Eastern Michigan game the most.
Tom Hart: “First of all I’m really looking forward to it, I love coming down to Gainesville. This is different than most week-two games because nobody has seen the Gators play and it’s different for me as a broadcaster because one of my favorite things to do is to prep for a game is sit down and watch film. I don’t even know if there is any film out there that’s going to give me a good feel of how Florida is going to look. I could go back and see what Jeff [Driskel] looked like at quarterback but it would be a waste of time to try and imagine what Jeff would look like in Duke’s offense. I’m looking to see how they come out and the energy they have but more importantly how Kurt Roper puts his guys in position to be successful.”
Q.) First trip to Gainesville for football?
Hart: “This is my first trip down to Florida for football; I’ve been down to Florida for baseball and for basketball. I was there Easter weekend for Florida/Georgia in baseball and I’ve been down to cover Billy Donovan numerous times.”
Q.) Excited to see the Florida Gators first game to see how they look?
Hart: “I don’t anticipate many jitters because those were probably eliminated last Saturday at kickoff. Now obviously not everybody saw the field but I don’t really anticipate a lot of jitters. There will be a feeling out process to see where they stand but I think the main feeling, and we’ve seen this from the players this week, is an anticipation to play. The overriding feeling for the fans, media, coaches and players will be excitement to finally play on Saturday.”
Q.) How does no game last week affect your preparation and will it make your job tougher?
Hart: “I don’t think it will difficult, it will be similar to my week one game last week in Kentucky. We didn’t get to see a new system but new people in those positions. I think what helps me is I was able to watch Duke last year in the Chick-fil-a bowl game. That was an exciting game. It was a blast and a lot of fun to watch.”
Q.) How do you anticipate Roper doing at Florida?
Hart: I think Kurt Roper is going to transfer a lot of his philosophies to Gainesville –and this is no slouch to Duke — but on an annual bases Roper is going to have the opportunity to work with more elite skill positions players in Gainesville then he did in Durham.”
Q.) Impressions of Kurt Roper as a coach.
Hart: “My feeling is that he gets his personality from his mentor David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe is one of the nicest guys in the business and Roper is as well and not just nice but one of the best offensive minds in the game. His track record speaks for itself and if you’ve ever met Coach Cut then you would know that Roper has had the chance to learn that positive personality from him.”
Q.) Anything you’re looking forward to in Gainesville?
Hart: “Great question, I always love to come down there but I don’t have a great feel for where I want to be on Friday night to cut up some meat or even post game on Saturday. This will be a great opening game for me to get a feel for a game day on a weekend.
Gator Country would like to thank Tom Hart for joining us for the Q&A session and we wish him the best of luck on Saturday.