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Football: Both lines for Brainerd improving through 3 weeks

Mitch Wind and Caleb Lange stand taller than 6-foot-6 and also start on both the defensive and offensive lines.

Brainerd Warrior Football
Mitch Wind goes in for a tackle in a game against Andover Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at Adamson Field.
kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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It starts in the trenches.

In Brainerd’s 27-10 win against Moorhead last week, both the defensive and offensive lines played key roles in the victory.

Mitchell Wind and Caleb Lange are both Brainerd players who play both ways on the offensive and defensive lines.

Wind is a junior who stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 230 pounds. He was one of the many defensive linemen to get pressure on Moorhead’s quarterback in the second half.

“I just listened to what the coaches had to tell me how to play,” Wind said. “And how to react and read my reads.”

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Wind said his confidence is sky high with how the Moorhead game ended with zero points allowed in the fourth quarter.

“It gives us confidence as a team, too,” Wind said. “We played well as a team, too. We just do our thing.”

Lange is a senior captain who converted from tight end to offensive tackle this season. Lange stands 6-6 and weighs 255 pounds. He’s committed to playing tackle at the University of South Dakota next year.

“It’s been a tough adjustment, but it’s been fun,” Lange said of moving positions. “I’ve never played defensive end or tackle before. My strength coach Logan (McElfresh) suggested to me back in the spring to play tackle and make the switch. I went to college camps and blew it out of the water, so I switched.”

The biggest adjustment Lange said is the physicality.

“The thing I like about tackle is that I don’t have to worry about running routes,” Lange said. “I just have to hit them and it’s really fun.”

Lange and Wind helped block for Brainerd’s 258 rushing yards against the Spuds, 184 of which went to Damien Bentho.

“We are just developing one week at a time,” Offensive line coach Curtis Brisk said. “We have three seniors on the offensive line and only one returner, so these last three weeks have really been about developing these guys to believe in each other. This last week was a great performance. The offensive line was gelling and blocking their butts off.”

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Brisk said Lange’s willingness to take coaching is what has made his adjustment to the offensive tackle a success.

“He’s always asking what he can do better,” Brisk said. “He’s just a workman and is going to be pretty good in the end.”

Lange credited Brisk’s coaching in their breakout game against Moorhead.

“We were just working every day with coach Brisk,” Lange said. “Against Andover, we didn’t have the best day and he just pushed us really hard with the sleds every day (before the Moorhead game).”

Brisk said the current offensive line has a lot of potential as the season moves along.

“Hopefully we are just getting started right now,” he said.

Lange and Wind start along the defensive line with Eli Wiskow in Brainerd’s 3-4 defense.

“We tell the guys in camp that just because we run a three-man front doesn’t mean we don’t need more than three,” Brainerd’s defensive line coach Aron Anderson said. “We have our role players when guys get tired. We got two two-way players and the cooler weather will start helping with that. We need more than three to get the job done though.”

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Forrest Wentz is one of those defensive line subs and he tallied an interception against Andover.

Against Moorhead, Anderson said they ran some stunts to get some extra pressure on the quarterback.

“I think the guys just played the music a little louder and turned the dial-up, especially coming off a loss,” Anderson said. “That’s just how we have to go every week as we are maturing and developing.”

Anderson said Wind has built off his sophomore season where he started.

“He has that experience and to me has had to fall into that leadership role a little bit,” Anderson said. “He’s upped his game all around and some of the other guys are following him.”

Wind and Lange both said wanting to win was the reason they keep their energy high playing both sides of the ball in the trenches.

“This week I wasn’t tired much,” Wind said. “The first couple weeks were a grind.”

Lange added: “The first game was tough, but you get used to it. Put the team before yourself and keep going.”

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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