The Oklahoma offensive line is intent on getting off to a better start in 2021.
Though plenty of guys were returning to start ahead of the 2020 season, the pandemic wiping out spring football and summer conditioning bled over to a slow start once the Sooners hit conference play.
Tyrese Robinson, who started at right guard last season and is getting work at right tackle in camp this year, said he felt the line came into the season a bit too heavy last year during spring practice, but also noted how hard it was to form those tight-knit bonds throughout the 2020 season due to all of the health and safety protocols.
“I felt like the o-line it was all about unity and us not being able to hang out with each other – you know, the o-line does everything together, they eat, they go everywhere with each other,” Robinson said during spring practice. “So with us not being able to do that, yeah, we didn’t have the closest bond last year, but we got close more as the season got on.”
Ahead of the 2021 season, potential starting center Andrew Raym doesn’t foresee that being a problem.
“The mentality in our o-line room is a 180 from what it was last year,” Raym said during a Zoom press conference on Wednesday. “We’ve got a lot of guys on the line that are just absolute killers, you know what I’m saying? Like, not just get-your-hands-on-and-wall-people-off, but get-your-hands-on-and-bury-people-in-the-ground.”
Oklahoma’s Joe Moore Award winning unit in 2018 was known for their nasty streak, a mentality Raym said the 2021 offensive line hopes to recapture.
“We’re trying to get that hardcore culture back in the o-line room,” he said. “I mean throughout this fall so far, we’ve got a lot of guys bought into it. So I don’t think we’ll have any slow starts coming out of the gate this year.”
Losing just two starters off the line from last year in Creed Humphrey and Adrian Ealy, Raym said that the returning players have all done a good job of embracing the culture shift, but it boils back down to the offensive line’s ability to gel as a unit now that life outside of football has allowed for some normalcy to return.
“We all work out together, we watch film together, we have dinners together. We didn’t really see a lot of that last year,” Raym said. “We’ve just really been trying to encompass a new mentality in our o-line room to make us some dogs again.”
While the 2021 offensive line will look a lot different than it did just a year ago, Raym is confident they won’t be plagued by a slow start against Tulane, Western Carolina and Nebraska.
“I don’t really see that happening with us this year,” he said.
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