Oklahoma football: Andrew Raym says having Jerry Schmidt back is huge to program

Many inside the Oklahoma football program were excited to hear that Jerry Schmidt was returning to Norman during the transition to new head coach Brent Venables.

Schmidt was Oklahoma’s strength and conditioning coach from 1999-2017 and was part of the 2000 national championship team.

Schmidt also spent time at Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, and Florida before arriving at Oklahoma. Now, after a few years at Texas A&M, Schmidt is back with the Sooners.

There were many takeaways from the Sooner’s media day coverage on Tuesday, but no more significant than what offensive lineman Andrew Raym had to say. Raym wanted media and fans alike to know how big of a part Schmidt is to this Sooners team.

“Schmitty is definitely going to help us a lot this year. Like I said, we’re stronger than we’ve ever been, and that’s going to help our physicality,” Junior Andrew Raym said. 

NORMAN, OK – OCTOBER 24: Strength coach Jerry Schmidt stretches running back Joe Mixon #25 of the Oklahoma Sooners before their game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on October 24, 2015 at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Jackson Laizure/Getty Images)

No other way to put it, the lack of physicality at Oklahoma has shown over the years, and some of that has been due to the absence of Schmidt.

Venables praises how important Schmidt was for his defense at Oklahoma, making them stronger and well-conditioned for the season. When Venables was making calls for his new coaching staff, one of those calls was bringing back Schmidt, who brings a new level of toughness back to Norman.

Andrew Raym had something else to say about progress in the weight room and comparing it to previous years under Benny Wylie. Raym was asked by Sooner Scoop writer Eddie Radosevich “How big was that change, even though it’s only 2 or 3 months working with him in the summer?”

“It was definitely a change, a complete 180. As an O-Line, we’re stronger in 6 months, then we got in 2 years,” Raym said. 

It says a lot about the little to no progress players made under former S&C coach Benny Wylie, but that’s the past, and the Sooners have their leader in the weight room back. Head coach Brent Venables wanted his right-hand man back, who also brings leadership in the weight room.

“Jerry’s values, expectations, and standards align with mine and ours as a program. He’s a detail guy, is super consistent and tough, but he’s reasonable. … I think it’s important from a leadership standpoint that we have someone who has a clear vision about what all of that looks like,” Venables said. 

Also, with the type of tempo that Jeff Lebby’s offense likes to run in, the Sooners will have to be well conditioned and in shape; that’s what “Messin’ with Schmitty in the summertime” is for.

Despite the soreness and sleepless nights, the Sooners know it’s for good and will prepare them for the SEC, which Schmidt knows a little about.