Published September 2, 2010 - 5:50am
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Tonight Jenn Brown will make her debut as ESPN’s new sideline reporter during the South Carolina vs Southern Miss football game. Jenn has reported for College GameDay and last year she was the co-host of ESPN-U’s Road Trip. Brown was born and raised in Central Florida and as a self-proclaimed sports junkie, she broke her high-school record for obtaining the most varsity letters with 14! She went on to the University of Florida where she not only graduated summa cum laude, but was also a star on the softball field. She was named the captain her senior year and is currently 5th place in all-time steals.
Brown was gracious enough to answer a few questions for our Saturday Down South team.
You can follow her twitter account @JennBrownESPN
Bo Herrington: Tell us a little bit about what your role will be with ESPN. What part of your job are you most excited about?
Jenn Brown: I am super psyched for my new full-time job with ESPN and my newest gig as the sideline reporter for Thursday night “ESPN College Football Primetime” games. That kicks off this week with Southern Miss at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). I will also continue to contribute features for College GameDay on the weekends like I did last year, as well as my reporter duties for SportsCenter and news. I think I am most excited about my Thursday night role, as it’s different than what I have done in the past. I am a huge college football fan and I am looking forward to being a part of that every Thursday night.
Bo: You have a huge fan base that is anxious to get to know you. Can you describe yourself in three words?
Jenn Brown: Passionate, Silly, Easy-going.
Bo: A lot of people are predicting Alabama to repeat this year, what do you think will be their biggest obstacle in winning a national title?
Jenn Brown: Well, Alabama is looking pretty darn good right now. To state the obvious, they have so many amazing guys coming back on offense: McElroy, Ingram, Jones, Richardson, Maze and Carpenter. But they are only returning two starters on defense and they lost some key players on special teams. They will definitely need to get it together on defense, but I have no doubt that Saban can do that. In terms of their biggest obstacle in winning a national title, in my opinion it’s being ranked No. 1. Being the returning National Champions and ranked No. 1 means everyone is gunning for you. I read a quote the other day that really resonated with me on the pressure of coming in ranked No. 1, and that is: “When you’re at the top, there is nowhere to go but down.”
Bo: Florida is replacing a legend in Tim Tebow. What are your expectations for the Gators and John Brantley?
Jenn Brown: Statistically John Brantley looked great coming out of high school when compared to Tim. But I don’t think we’re really going to be able to make a definite conclusion on how Brantley is going to handle the team until he goes out there and takes that first snap as the starter. He obviously has big shoes to fill in replacing Tim but I think he is going to do great. Urban Meyer is an amazing coach and I have no doubt he will get Brantley up to his full potential in no time. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do, I know he looked good in the Spring game back in April.
Bo: What SEC game are you most looking forward to covering? What environment do you think is the most intimidating, and why?
Jenn Brown: In the interest of remaining impartial as a sideline reporter, I’ll pass on that one pertaining to what I am most looking forward to covering. But as for intimidating environments I can only speak to what fields I visited last year, which were only a few SEC schools, so I will talk about my most memorable. UF of course…any game in The Swamp is going to be exciting and the fans are intense. I got to be on the field for the UCS @ Oregon game last year, and that was just LOUD…almost disorienting. I also thought the Horse Shoe at Ohio State was insane…I wouldn’t want to play in that stadium.
Bo: Where in Gainesville do people need to go before/after a game? What were your favorite pre-game hangouts?
Jenn Brown: Well since I was on the softball team at Florida my entire time there, I didn’t do a lot of tailgating before games because we were already in fall practice and were always entertaining recruits. I know we always met in the parking lot of the O’Connell Center, which is where a lot of people set up to tailgate before the game. To be honest anywhere around the stadium is always really fun, but my favorite hangout after the game was always The Swamp restaurant. The Swamp was great because they are located right across from the stadium so you could just walk there after the game.
Bo: College GameDay always has a huge turnout, I get a kick out of reading some of the signs that fans make. What is your favorite sign from a College GameDay crowd?
Jenn Brown: I once saw a fan who had a sign that said “Send $ Mom” I thought that was pretty awesome! I just hope his mom saw that sign and sent him some money for his effort!
Bo: What are your thoughts on the fans and tailgating experience of SEC schools compared to those of other conferences?
Jenn Brown: Well last year with “ESPNU Road Trip,” I got the opportunity to travel to the biggest college football towns with my co-host Drubner and we experienced the different types of tailgating across the country. I have to say SEC schools definitely know how to get ready for a football game! A couple of my favorites that come to mind from last year are the Grove at Ole Miss, Alabama and UF. The Grove at Ole Miss is something everyone should experience! Everywhere you look there are tents set up across the entire grove, all with themes and a definite festive atmosphere. When the team does their walk through the Grove the places is electric. I really became a fan of the Alabama campus last year. Although we didn’t get to go to a home game there, we did start our show “Road Trip to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta” in Alabama. My favorite place was Rounders. The Roy Brothers definitely know how to get the Alabama spirit going. At UF last year our favorite spot to hit was this house with a huge double decker bus in front where they had people dancing on it, they had a dj and just a ton of people hanging out before the game. I even ran into some of my old college roommates there!
Bo: Are you ever intimidated being a face for ESPN where it’s a mostly male dominated industry?
Jenn Brown: I’m not intimidated, I’m just excited. I have been an avid sports fan my whole life. My parents were Olympic gymnastics coaches, I started playing sports at the age of 4, played seven sports in HS, softball in College at UF…My whole life, I eat, slept and breathe sports…why would I want to do anything else?? :)