Predicting the future of Zone Six, how gambling for Chipotle can make football dreams come true and more

Jeremy Birmingham

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Today is Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.


Kevin Wilson’s passing game + Ohio State talent = profit?

I think it’s important to make one thing perfectly clear about Ohio State’s football team over the last two seasons: The offense was good, actually.

I know that many readers and fans and Twitter geniuses believe differently and have spent much of the last two football seasons bickering about any number of problems they’ve created, but the truth is that the Buckeyes were good, they just needed to get better. Specifically, they need to take their really good running game and add to it a better, more complete passing game. So, to that end, this offseason has featured a few staff moves designed to facilitate that need.

We’ve discussed the addition of new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson — along with new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day — many times. However, to really get a grasp of what to expect when the new offense hits the field, you must go back to another time and place.

The time? The years 2011 through 2016. The place? Bloomington, Ind.

That’s what my good friend Eric Seger of elevenwarriors.com did, just to give you all the chance to prepare more adequately for the future of Buckeyes football. He starts by noting that during Wilson’s tenure with the Hoosiers, he’s seen a pair of 1,000-yard receivers (and another that finished with 995 yards) pass through his program; Ohio State has not yet had a receiver hit that plateau since Urban Meyer took over.

But the disparity in completions on a year-to-year basis in overall passing, both in yards per season and completions per season, isn’t quite as egregious as you’d think.

In those six seasons, the Hoosiers outpaced the Buckeyes by about 500 passing yards per year, completing about 45 more passes season. However, on the flip side of that coin is the running game: Ohio State outgained Indiana by more than 1,000 yards per year on the ground.

For Wilson and the Buckeyes, finding a balanced offense somewhere in the middle of those numbers will be key. Meyer has said repeatedly he’d like Ohio State to land somewhere around 250 yards per game passing and running the ball. Can they do it? Wilson’s never had the talent at his disposal that he will in Columbus, that much is clear.

 If you love Chipotle, good things can happen to you

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: everyone should eat Chipotle. Like, all the time.

Not only is it the best available “fast” food option for tacos and burritos and the like, it’s also the type of place you’d not feel embarrassed to name as your lunch of choice should you win a wager with a friend. Take, for example, the curious case of Austin Brizee.

Now, we have mentioned Brizee previously in this space, but he still remains a person most of the world has not heard of. But that may soon change. And now we know how his story got its start.

You see, young Austin — a member of the prestigious Ohio State Marching Band — wanted free Chipotle one day. So, like any enterprising college student, decided to make a bet with some pals.

That’s where I’ll allow Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch to take over:

On Dec. 27, just after Ohio State’s marching band had finished practice inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Brizee, a trumpet player, told a couple of friends that he might be able to kick a 55-yard field goal. If he did, Brizee said, Chipotle would be on them.

OK, so there’s the plot. A trumpeter, a football and a delicious burrito. Now, the plot twist: Brizee made the kick and it was promptly shoved into cyberspace for all the world to see.

When I say all the world, I specifically mean the world as it pertains to Ohio State football. Specifically, Eron Hodges, who is the right-hand man of Meyer’s right-hand man, Mark Pantoni. Well, Hodges didn’t just let that information idly pass. He did what any blossoming player-personnel wizard would do: He reached out to the young man via his mobile device.

He texted Brizee and offered a walk-on tryout. Brizee doesn’t have a date yet for that tryout, but he is taking his opportunity seriously. He has enlisted former Ohio State kicker Kyle Clinton to help refine his technique.

Clinton helped the Buckeyes win a national championship in 2014-15 so he’s got a little insight into the whole kicking thing. He says the young man may have a future.

“He has all the ability in the world,” Clinton said. “As of right now, he doesn’t have the background, the fundamentals. That’s what we’re working on. It’s all about the repetitions and getting the muscle memory and getting everything consistent. That just takes time and practice.”

A former four-sport high school athlete out of Cleveland, Brizee will get a shot most people in Ohio only dream of.

All because of Chipotle.

Ezekiel Elliott is running the world

Every day, somewhere, something is happening that brings Ezekiel Elliott into the spotlight of sports and entertainment. He’s become one of the biggest stars in the sporting universe and the former Buckeyes tailback isn’t shying away from much.

Future, who is a rap artist I am told, has no doubt picked up on the trend and in his newest song — titled POA (NSFW lyrics, by the way) for some reason — references the Dallas Cowboys superstar.

I done made 21 million
I got Ezekiel stacks
I done made 21 million
I had to run up a sack

I don’t know what any of that means but I bet it’s pretty cool to have a song about you.

B1G Happenings

• Penn State raises a lot of money to fight against pediatric cancer

• Tommy Armstrong hoping to prove to NFL scouts that he can play at the next level

• Michigan loses to Minnesota in overtime

• After season-ending knee surgery Eron Harris thanks Michigan State fans

• No. 2 Penn State wrestling topples No. 1 Oklahoma

• 5-star linebacker picks USC over Ohio State, LSU and others

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