Almost no one is a stranger to how pivotal marching bands are to the Big Ten game day experience. As former band members, I and several others who write for this site can also attest that most of us college band members are right there along for the ride with our football teams, are deeply invested in the games, and follow the sport across the college football landscape. It isn’t so often though that the two worlds actually collide any further than us performing on the same field. Sure, you have that Texas Longhorn football player who also played in the marching band, but we have never seen the inverse-- until now (or at least the early stages).
Austin Brizee, pictured above, is a member of the Ohio State University Marching Band and while in Ohio State’s indoor practice facility, he found time to kick an incredibly impressive 55-yard field goal. Don’t believe me? Check out the video in the Ohio State Marching Band’s Tweet below. Because of this feat, Austin has been invited for an actual team try-out! And why shouldn’t he be? Many NFL kickers don’t even comfortably have this range and, for most, the limit is around 35 yards. Austin made excellent contact, and the ball sailed beautifully smack dab between the posts. He even claims to have made a 60 yard field goal. We’d certainly love to see that one on video too!
Using my vast band connection network (yes, we obviously all know one another/at least have mutual friends), I was able to get in touch with Austin, possible future kicker for the Ohio State Buckeyes, who is a trumpet player in The Best Damn Band in the Land, for an interview.
Q: So, Austin, where are you from?
A: I am from Cleveland, Ohio but more specifically Lyndhurst, Ohio.
Q: What is your musical and athletic background?
A: My musical background is that I have been in band and played trumpet since the 5th grade. I was a part of many different ensembles throughout high school including marching band and concert band. My athletic background consists of me having played varsity baseball, soccer, golf, and bowling in high school. I initially went to a different college to pursue baseball, but transferred after one semester.
Q: Were you a band star in high school?
A: As far as being a band star in high school, I would consider marching band to be a total group effort so each individual person contributes to the overall success of the band.
Q: So why did you choose to go to Ohio State?
A: I chose to go to Ohio state because it was always a dream of mine to go there. It's an amazing university with many opportunities and I always had the dream of being a member of the marching band and marching in "The Shoe". I went to Thiel College to pursue baseball, but then transferred and started the second semester of my freshman year at Ohio State’s Mansfield campus. My first year at the main Columbus campus was last year, so my sophomore year. I am currently a junior in school now. All of this in order to pursue my dream of being in the Ohio State Marching Band.
Q: Did you always want to be a member of TBDBITL?
A: Yes, I have always wanted to be a member of TBDBITL since the moment I saw them when I was younger. Like I said, it's always been a dream of mine.
Q: Have you always been a Buckeyes fan?
A: I have been a Buckeye fan my entire life. Starting when I first visited when I was a little kid.
Q: What are your thoughts on this year’s team?
A: My view on this years team is that they are in the College Football Playoff which should speak for itself.
Q: What made you want to kick a field goal that day?
A: I was just wanting to do something fun that I like doing when I get the chance, as well as a bet my friend made with me for Chipotle if I could kick a 55-yard field goal. I have said if I could go back and play a different sport throughout school it would have been to be a kicker on a football team.
Q: How do you feel about this try-out opportunity?
A: The opportunity to try out for one of the best teams in college football has not really set in yet, but I'm going to go into it with an open mind hoping to showcase my skills to the best of my ability.
Q: You know that Ohio State’s current kicker, Tyler Durbin, is a walk-on. How do you feel about the chance to have a similar opportunity as him?
A: It is an exciting opportunity that always seemed to be a dream for me and seeing his story makes the whole thing seem more realistic and that it is possible.
Q: If it came down to it, and you had to choose to play for the team or be in the band, which would you choose?
A: It would be a tough decision I would have to make, and I would discuss all aspects with my family and friends if it came down to that.
Q: What are you going to do with your newfound fame?
A: Nothing is going to change in my life, this is a great opportunity and I hope to make the most of it.
Q: What would be your field goal dance when you make a big one?
A: That's something I haven't even thought about yet.
Q: Is there anything you would like to say to the College Football world?
A: Go Bucks!
Thank you to Austin for the interview! He sounds like a genuine Buckeye and I certainly look forward to following his story and I wish him the best of luck in his try-out. For now, may he and the rest of The Best Damn Band in the Land enjoy the Fiesta Bowl this Saturday, the 31st. Austin kicking this field goal is one of the more positively interesting things which have happened in the college football world in this post-regular season.
Hope he got his free Chipotle.