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OU football notepad: Why Robert Congel couldn't pass on chance to play for Sooners

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Robert Congel didn’t need much convincing to transfer to Oklahoma.

“I was looking at a couple of places and when coach [Bill Bedenbaugh] gives you the opportunity to come to Oklahoma,” Congel said, “you don’t mess that up.”

The 6-foot-4 offensive lineman, who’s vying for OU’s starting job at center, joined the Sooners this spring after spending three seasons with Arizona and one season at Texas A&M before that.

He’s found Bedenbaugh to be the coach he expected when the Sooners recruited him out of the NCAA transfer portal.

“He coaches us hard, but I mean, he demands perfection,” Congel said. “Honestly, what else could I ask for? If you got a good rep, he’s going to tell you what to do to make it great. and if you got a bad rep, he’s gonna tell you how to make it great as well.

“So, you’re always being pushed. There’s never a comfort zone, and I love it that way and I know my offensive linemen do as well.”

OU brought in Congel to add depth and experience to an offensive line that loses starting center Creed Humphrey and right tackle Adrian Ealy from last year’s team.

Congel’s primarily played guard since matriculating to the college game from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

He might end up as a guard again, but he’s currently competing against Chris Murray, Ian McIver and Nate Anderson to take Humphrey’s old job.

Whether or not he ends up there, OU coach Lincoln Riley liked what Congel brought to the offensive line unit.

“He reminded us of a couple of guys that we’d had before with some of his position flexibility and some of the experience that he had,” Riley said. “… He was looking for an opportunity to come to place like Oklahoma and have a chance to compete for championships. So, we had what he was looking for and he had what we were looking for.”

• Strong showing: OU safety Justin Broiles was quick to be named when Riley was asked about who’s made a leap during spring practices.

“Justin Broiles has had a really good spring in our secondary,” Riley said. “I think the best, the most consistently he’s performed since he’s been here and he’s been here awhile. But I think he’s in a great spot and doing some really nice things.”

So, what’s changed for the fifth-year defensive back?

Broiles said it comes down to the “mental aspect” of football.

“I felt like the one thing that kept holding me back was myself and I had to figure out how could I unlock all of that,” Broiles said.

“Simply by doing the mental training and the mental preparation and the mental rehearsal, the sport psychology side of the game, that allowed me to take my game to another level.”

Broiles appeared in six games last season before missing OU’s final five games due to injury.

The Oklahoma City native has recorded 56 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups over the last three seasons.

• Promising start: Freshman receiver Mario Williams, a Class of 2021 signee who enrolled at OU this spring, is adapting well to the Sooner offense.

The former five-star prospect will be one of the offense’s fastest players and has a chance to make an immediate impact, according to assistant coach Cale Gundy.

“He’s an intelligent young man,” Gundy said. “There’s an opportunity for him to help us in the return game somewhere, especially in special teams and an opportunity for him to be out there and be able to stretch the field.”

The 5-foot-9 receiver comes to OU from Plant City High School in Tampa, Florida. considered him the second-best receiver in the 2021 recruiting class.

Joe Buettner


Follow me @JoeBuettner

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