As a player, Mark Tauscher was known as smart, thoughtful and analytical when it came to talking about football.
Now he’s going to see if those traits take him somewhere with the game he still loves.
Last week, Tauscher attended the NFL’s sixth annual “Broadcast Boot Camp” at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, N.J., and he emerged from it with another opportunity.
On a weekend yet to be determined during the 2012 regular season, Tauscher will be working on-air for one of the league’s broadcast partners in the United Kingdom, previewing and analyzing games, beginning with the NFL Network’s Thursday night broadcast and concluding with the full slate of games on Sunday.
“It will be like FOX NFL Sunday for Britain,” Tauscher said in an interview this week with packers.com. “That’s the way it was described to me.”
Some details have yet to be ironed out, but Tauscher is working on getting some additional in-season broadcast assignments closer to home as well. The modest Tauscher wouldn’t say it, but it sounded like he made a favorable impression at the four-day boot camp, which introduced the participants to everything from studio duties to game analysis to on-field reporting, teleprompter work and radio.
“They tried to hit all the mediums and get you exposed to some things to see how you reacted and maybe what you thought your strengths were,” Tauscher said. “You also got some feedback from executives to let you know what their thoughts were and the things you needed to improve on.”
Tauscher, a seventh-round draft pick in 2000 who became a fixture for the Packers at right tackle over an 11-year career that included 140 starts (including playoffs), was a fan favorite as a Wisconsin native playing for his home-state team. He was a regular on a football show on WBAY-TV 2, Green Bay’s ABC affiliate, toward the end of his career, so working in front of a camera isn’t entirely new to him.
He said the boot camp covered a lot of ground, including a focus on speech to help learn how to describe the game without using too much football jargon. The camp featured instructors from all of the NFL’s broadcast partners, and Tauscher said the advice he heard most was simply to “get reps” as a broadcaster or analyst, a football analogy any player can relate to.
“They said you’re not going to get any better by not doing it,” he said. “You have to get in front of a camera and you have to get as much experience as you can find, because that’s the only way you’re going to get better at it.
“If you’re not taking reps and doing stuff, you’re probably not improving.”
The boot camp has a strong track record for getting players started in the field. According to a league press release, of the 105 players who took part in the camp over its first five years, 44 have earned broadcasting jobs.
Tauscher wouldn’t mind being another of the camp’s success stories, and his pursuit is underway. He’s taking nothing for granted, though, the same way he didn’t as a seventh-round pick.
“It’s a big challenge to get into any other career field and when you’re trying to do something new,” he said. “There’s always some nervousness when you’re in front of a camera, and there’s also that excitement of trying to get better doing it. That’s how I see this thing going.
“When there are fun experiences and fun opportunities, you always try to see where they will lead you.”