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Dr. Saturday

‘Blind Side’ behind him, Hugh Freeze turns a new page at surging Arkansas State

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Hugh Freeze

First-year Arkansas State coach Hugh Freeze is trying to establish himself as the coach that leads the Red Wolves to their first bowl game as a member of the FBS, but he's having a hard time getting away from the person he was before taking his first collegiate head coaching position.

Freeze is the famous coach from the book and subsequent movie "The Blind Side," the story of offensive lineman Michael Oher, who overcame multiple obstacles to become a standout football player at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis and now plays for the Baltimore Ravens. Freeze helped discover Oher, helped cultivate his talents and ultimately helped get him a scholarship to Ole Miss.

But now Freeze is trying to create a new identity as the head coach of Arkansas State and with a win against North Texas on Saturday, the Red Wolves will be 6-2 for the first time since 1986.{YSP:MORE}

Arkansas State has actually won six games four times since 2000, but because the Sun Belt's only guaranteed bowl tie-in during most of that time was given to the conference winner, the Red Wolves often fell short.

Not this year.

Arkansas State is atop the Sun Belt standings and has yet to lose a conference game. The Red Wolves could be in line for their best season since winning 11 games in 1975. The Red Wolves have not won more than seven games in any other season. It helps that the rest of the schedule, with the exception of the Nov. 12 date against Louisiana-Lafayette, is against teams with losing records. Also, unlike past years, the Sun Belt has two guaranteed bowl slots available, so even if Arkansas State does lose that game to the Ragin' Cajuns, they'll still head to a bowl game.

And the legend of Freeze's accomplishment will grow even more.

Who knows? Perhaps someone will write a book about it.

"I'm not trying to separate myself from it ("The Blind Side") because we use it and it's beneficial to us," Freeze told The New York Times. "I want to add another chapter to it."

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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