ESPN has had serious discussions about promoting Dan Orlovsky and adding Matt Hasselbeck in college football broadcast booths this season, The Big Lead has learned. This would also mean a further shakeup on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pregame show for Monday Night Football. An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment.
Orlovsky is a rising star at ESPN and you see him on their airwaves day and night enough to wonder if there is more than one of him. He brings a lot of enthusiasm. We have heard that the plan for him would be for him to replace Brock Huard, who as Andrew Marchand reported in May left ESPN to join Fox’s no. 2 college football team alongside Joe Davis, in ESPN’s hierarchy. [Clarification: Orlovsky has previously called college football for ESPN, and this would be an elevation.]
ESPN’s NFL studio coverage has been in flux this offseason. Neither show has flowed particularly well over the past couple years and it is therefore not surprising that the dynamics of them are shifting. Charles Woodson is out from his roles on Sunday and Monday Countdown, to be replaced by Tedy Bruschi.
Hasselbeck could very well be more suited for the booth than the studio. There, his ability to break down the action of what just happened — as opposed to bombastic soundbites forecasting what could happen — would be on display. Hasselbeck has had some prior experience in the booth — he called the 2018 Pro Bowl for ESPN, and while still active as a player spent a bye week in a Fox NFL booth in 2014.
It’ll be interesting to see what both editions of Countdown look like once all the tinkering is done.