Free can keep up with the Wolfe

By Andrew Hanson

The screen pass gets dumped off to running back Garrett Wolfe and the offensive line gets into its formation to block down field.

Wolfe finds the line and takes off into a hole made by the line — and then you see him, the mammoth No. 62, running stride for stride with Wolfe.

Whereas most linemen make the block near the line of scrimmage, left tackle Doug Free is running with Wolfe until they’re in the end zone.

That doesn’t happen with every screen pass but then again, Free isn’t your average lineman. Feats like this helped Free take the No. 9 spot in the Northern Star’s top athletes of the year list.

“Lots of people were amazed that I could do that,” Free said. “Now they expect it out of me.”

At 6’7″ and 302 pounds, Free was nicknamed by his teammates “Doug Freak” due to his tremendous size and athleticism that includes a five-second 40-yard dash, a 29-inch vertical and a 565-pound squat.

Last season, Free was named first-team All-MAC after tying for first in blocking grades at 91 percent, second in pancake blocks with 13 and third in knockdown blocks with 49. In this offseason, Free was named to the Third-Team All-America by

Wolfe said even though he’s ran behind some great linemen, Free is the best.

“He always does what’s right,” Wolfe said. “He makes multiple blocks when he’s only assigned to one person.”

Where Free is an average lineman is in his demeanor.

Free said he enjoys playing at a storied program like Michigan or Ohio State, but he says it’s still a football game.

“The field is still 53 by 100,” Free said. “There’s still 11 guys on the other side.”

Free doesn’t go out looking for recognition and is just as quick to credit Wolfe or another lineman as himself on a play and both he and Wolfe know they wouldn’t be where they are without each other.

“Both of us have tremendous respect for each other,” Free said. “Without each other, we wouldn’t have gotten our awards.”