After a week of self-reflection, the day has arrived. Oklahoma will have its chance to put its narrow win and shaky performance firmly behind them. They’ll lace up their cleats, strap up their helmets and pads to take on FCS Western Carolina University. The offense has some notable guys that we’ll be taking a look at. They played well in the first half minus some inconsistent plays from their leader in Spencer Rattler and some struggles on the offensive line to generate real push in the run game. Here are our players to watch in game two:
Andrew Raym, C
As previously mentioned, the Sooners run game struggled badly. Sure, Kennedy Brooks broke off a long run of 32 yards. Excluding that his stats check out to 13 carries for 55 yards against Tulane. OU cannot struggle two weeks in a row with Group of Five or FCS level competition running the ball.
Enter Andrew Raym.
Highly recruited out of high school to be the heir apparent to former Sooner turned Kansas City Chief Creed Humphrey, Raym sat out most of the game last week as he tested positive for COVID-19 the week before. Largely due to missed practice time, he played sparingly but should be full tilt and should usurp transfer Robert Congel this week for snaps. His strength and athleticism up the middle are great assets to getting this run game going.
The freshman wide receiver was fed a lot of opportunities to have the ball in his hands in his first game. 6 receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown may not seem like a lot but the volume of targets suggests he’s going to be a major player for OU this season. He was very highly recruited and has spent all offseason receiving praise for his play and work ethic. He featured heavily on screens to the wide side of the field with another receiver who would block or he would catch jailbreak screens.
Head coach Lincoln Riley is bound to take the leash off and get him the ball in other ways too. Operating out of the slot for short and intermediate routes could be coming. Don’t be surprised to see him put up better numbers than last week and really start to solidify his spot in the rotation.
No one offensive player probably had a rougher debut than Eric Gray. It’s not like Gray committed a bunch of turnovers or struggled in pass protection. Simply put, the few opportunities he had to run the ball were mostly plays of little to no gain. He broke off a run of 11 yards that was very smooth. It showcased some of his strengths: agility, vision, and the ability to make multiple guys miss.
His linemen largely let him down but Gray seems way too talented and way too focused to have another pedestrian effort. Of course, a large component of this is contingent on his offensive line doing better in run blocking (see the first player to watch in this article). If the line takes a step forward, we’ll see the Gray that the Tennessee Volunteers got last year when he ran for 772 yards on 152 carries and scored 4 touchdowns.
Our own Jay Attal believes Eric Gray goes over the century mark for the first time in 2021 vs. Western Carolina University.