‘Football nerd’ Sean Bedford takes spot in Georgia Tech radio booth

Georgia Tech great Sean Bedford managed to evince a wry smile from coach Paul Johnson at the halftime of the 2013 Music City Bowl, where the Yellow Jackets were down 13-7 going into the locker room. (GT Athletics/Danny Karnik)

Georgia Tech great Sean Bedford managed to evince a wry smile from coach Paul Johnson at the halftime of the 2013 Music City Bowl, where the Yellow Jackets were down 13-7 going into the locker room. (GT Athletics/Danny Karnik)

When he got word that there was an opening in the Georgia Tech radio booth after former Yellow Jackets team captain Roddy Jones took a job as a sideline reporter with the ACC Network, Sean Bedford was on a bus in Guatemala. The two-time All-ACC center was in the central American nation for his wedding.

“We happened to have wifi on the bus,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it, but I was incredibly happy for Roddy.”

Not much later, he received a text message from Tech voice Brandon Gaudin gauging his interest in succeeding Jones. And about a month later, the expected came to pass when Bedford was hired as the next color analyst for the Tech broadcasts, succeeding Rick Strom and Jones, who served in that capacity for one year.

It was a bit of a no-brainer – Bedford has been a part of the broadcast team as a pre-game show co-host and a backup sideline reporter for the past two years. Insightful, an effective communicator and passionate about Tech, Bedford was the only candidate interviewed.

“It’s been a privilege to represent the Institute in my previous capacity as the pre-game show co-host,” Bedford said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to move forward and do it in-game now.”

“In finding (Jones’) successor, Sean was the natural fit, and I’m thrilled he is the next to occupy that chair,” Gaudin said in a statement. “He played in this offense, is an incredibly hard worker, has the respect and admiration of Tech fans, and has already proven himself to be talented behind the microphone. We are lucky to have him waiting in the wings.”

A mock broadcast helped seal it. Gaudin and Bedford called the first quarter of the Orange Bowl off a copy of the television broadcast. It probably didn’t hurt that Bedford estimates that he has watched the Orange Bowl “probably 12 times.” Those who listen to Tech’s radio broadcast will be getting a self-described “football nerd” who delights in reviewing game video to dig into the tactics of coach Paul Johnson and defensive coordinator Ted Roof.

He says he’d do it even if he weren’t a commentator (“Absolutely. 100 percent.”). As he watched the team’s Saturday morning scrimmage, Bedford said he joked with offensive line coach Mike Sewak that it was a little disappointing to not have a job that doesn’t require watching game video. (Bedford is a patent and intellectual property attorney for Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett and Dunner. He lives intown.)

“The two coaches are constantly in a battle to try to outsmart and head off the other one, and to see how they’re attempting to do that and the means by which they go about trying to give their team an advantage, I think that’s one of the most fascinating parts of the game,” Bedford said. “Even as I guess, a lay person now, to some extent, I enjoy trying to understand that part of the game.”

It is that element of the game, its gritty inner workings, that Bedford hopes to bring to the air with Gaudin. He will have far more rein to do so as the analyst rather than as a sideline reporter.

Having played in Johnson’s spread-option offense, “I know how the offense works, I know what they’re trying to do on different plays and I look forward to introducing fans to some of the concepts that maybe they’re not familiar with, especially on the offensive line,” Bedford said. “There’s a lot you can learn from what’s going on on the offensive line. There’s a lot of things we do differently.”

He also hopes to help tell what he sees as the larger story of Tech and its football team.

“This is a very special place, and it is unique in the truest sense of the word,” he said. “There is only one Georgia Tech. It has traditions unlike any other place. It has a legacy and a story that’s unique to this program, and being part of that story, I have a very deep appreciation for what Georgia Tech football means, what it is, and I look forward to bringing that. Because I think it’s easy to talk about the game, but to understand it within that context I think is very important.”

More from Bedford

He actually was O.K. with the halftime interviews with Johnson – “he’s always been great to me in those,” Bedford said – though he said he always had worries about asking a question that would set off his former coach.

“That conversation is auxiliary to what’s going on in their head,” Bedford said. “Coach Johnson is focused on the second half and correcting whatever mistakes are made. So that conversation is much more important to me than it is to him and I understand that.”

He weighs 215 pounds. He was about 275 pounds as a senior and he said the weight came off in about three months. He said at his football weight, he got sick more often, was often tired and his knees constantly hurt. “So in some ways, yes (it impacted health), but certainly nothing too bad,” he said.

His favorite football analyst might be Cris Collinsworth of NBC, though he praised the work of Jones and Jones’ predecessor Rick Strom. The challenge with radio, Bedford said, “is that you don’t have the luxury of having that visual aid, so you have to bring it to life. I look forward to giving that my best attempt.”

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