Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dream Job for Former UF Football Player; Larry Richart's Love of the Game Shows in His Work with Madden NFL Series

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dream Job for Former UF Football Player; Larry Richart's Love of the Game Shows in His Work with Madden NFL Series

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT McGINTY, The Times-Union

MAITLAND -- For Florida State fans playing Madden NFL 2005, getting burned for a touchdown by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will have this extra painful twist: The digital version of Manning is a former Gator in disguise.

You might not remember Larry Richart, a little-used backup quarterback for Steve Spurrier's University of Florida team in 1998. After all, he only played a few downs against the Seminoles that year, without attempting a pass.

But six years later Richart is an assistant producer for the Madden line, and he modeled for many of the quarterback animations in the video game.

Richart joined EA Sports' Tiburon Studios in Maitland as a game tester for what he thought would be a summer job after finishing college. But after four years of working on quality assurance -- testing, testing and retesting games -- Richart was promoted to a more hands-on role. Now he designs the playbooks for all 32 NFL teams in Madden 2005.

And for him, that's a dream job. His eyes get wide when he talks about his good fortune.

"I draw out ball plays all day long," Richart said. "Coaches come in and work with me, share their wisdom. We want as much realism as possible. The NFL is tough; those defensive coordinators know what they're doing.

"Back in college I thought I might want to do some coaching. Now I'm working on football year round, and I don't have to get out on the field and yell at people."

According to line producer Phil Frazier, someone like Richart is a natural fit to work on Madden.

"You have to have a passion for the sport of football or for football games in general," Frazier said. "You have to understand the sport."

Richart's enthusiasm for football is obvious, and his former duties as a quarterback at Florida paid off in a very cool way when he was tapped for motion capture duties. …

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