NORMAN — Last year, Andrew Raym got his first taste of starting at center for Oklahoma.
The former 4-star recruit from Broken Arrow appeared in 12 games, starting seven contests at the heart of OU’s offensive line.
And while he had a successful season last year, Raym was looking forward to new offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby coming in an implementing his physical offense.
Unfortunately, Raym’s spring ended before it really got going on the field.
“He practiced two days in the spring,” offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said at OU’s local media day last Tuesday.
The injury kept Raym off the practice field, but it didn’t stop him from putting in the mental work in the classroom.
“I’m leaps and bounds from (where I was),” Raym said last week. “There’s not a play in the playbook I wouldn’t know what to do.
“… It definitely helps to get the live reps and see the defense out there in person. But you know just studying film and being in the playbook. I mean, I’ve been able to pick it up pretty easily.”
While he put in the mental reps in the spring, Raym was able to get back to his best physically over the summer under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt.
“I’m great. I’m feeling 100 percent,” Raym said. “A full summer with (Schmidt) now — Schmitty is one of the best strength coaches I’ve ever been working with. He’s really taking my strength to the next level along with other o-lineman.
“I think as a group we responded perfect honestly. The whole group now is stronger than I’ve seen us ever before.”
Hailed as a specialist in getting the best out of both the offensive and defensive lines, Raym admitted his position group wasn’t completely where they needed to be last year. And over the course of the summer, Raym believes the offensive line is finally where it needs to be to achieve their goals in 2022.
“I wouldn’t say we were weak, but we definitely weren’t where we needed to be,” he said. “And this summer has definitely brought us up to where we need to be.
“… It was definitely a change. It was a 180. As an o-line, we’re stronger in six months than we’ve got in two years in the past.”
Raym is poised to be a leader amongst the offensive line this year, as Bedenbaugh’s unit tries to take steps back toward their 2018 levels.
And though he has a year’s worth of starting experience, Bedenbaugh said there’s more to come from Raym this year as he embraces another year in the program.
“He’s always been a hard worker,” Bedenbaugh said. “It’s just, it’s growing up. It’s maturing. You know what I mean? He’s going into his third year. I know he played as a freshman a little bit; sophomore started on and off. He’s still a young dude. But I feel good about him.
“We’ll see. It’s hard to sit here and give you any predictions right now today. I mean, even two weeks into camp. But I’ll have a better idea at that point in time.”
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