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Cal Football

Rohme Healthy and Back on Track

May 23, 2022

After a promising initial playing stint in the covid-shortened 2020 season, redshirt soph right tackle Brayden Rohme suffered a debilitating injury in spring ball last season.

Rohme made a fairly quick comeback and was able to play in nine games in the 2021 season, including starts against Arizona and Stanford. Though he wasn’t back at 100% then, he’s much closer now after wrapping up a healthy spring ball session last month.

“It’s been good,” said Rohme. “The trainers really took care of me. I tore all the ligaments in my ankle last spring so it’s nice to be out here finally. It’s my first full spring I’ve been healthy so it’s nice to be out here with the guys. I haven’t had any problems with it after all the rehabbing with the trainers. I haven’t had any pain with it all, so it’s been awesome.:

Players who tear ligaments often have to relearn techniques and get used to the physicality of the game and trust their bodies to stay healthy.

“The first couple months after coming back, it’s all about trust,” said Rohme. “You’re kinda scared about it coming back and a little stiff but now it almost feels better than my other ankle after all the work.”

Most spring or fall sessions see significant missed time for offensive line units because of injuries or just giving guys time off to stay healthy but this spring saw an unusally healthy unit, with only a few missed practices by redshirt frosh guard Bastian Swinney, who eventually returned the last week of practice.

The ability to keep a unit together virtually the whole month allowed the line to build cohesiveness and gave the younger linemen like Swinney, redshirt soph guard Everett Johnson and Rhome the critical reps they needed to continue to develop and improve their games.

“Especially because we’ve got a lot of young guys, its’ great for us to get a lot more reps and since no one’s been down, we’ve been able to get good reps,” said Rohme. “It’s nice to be able to have that same group out there consistently to help continue to build our chemistry. It's been really good for us.”

“I think all the o-line guys -including myself- as the spring went on have really improved. Once we all got the assignments down, you can start focusing on your technique more.

“I think all the older guys, Cindo (Matt Cindrick), Ben (Coleman), me, Brian (Driscoll), we’ve kind of just been harping on each other, trying to focus on technique. Angus (McClure) is always on us about focusing on technique and getting better. I feel like this spring, I’ve really improved and all the other guys have improved, too.”

As a prep OT out of Gilbert, Arizona’s Perry High School, Rohme played at a lean 6-6/270 but is now striving to play at a weight more amenable to holding off hard-charging edge rushers at the next level after suffering last spring’s injury and a pre-camp bug.

“I’ve always had an issue putting on weight,” said Rohme. “When I got the surgery, I was the heaviest I’d been. Once I had surgery, I dropped a good amount of weight. Then through the rehab process, I gained the weight back. Prior to spring ball, I had a stomach bug and I lost 10 pounds and couldn’t eat much for 4-5 days but I’m good now.

“I’m around 285 now. I want to be at 295 in the fall and the staff thinks it's realistic. Gaining weight during spring ball when we’re burning all these calories is hard but I’m on the right track.”

“Rohme’s just a competitor,” said Cal offensive line coach Angus McClure. “He showed big improvement on the right side. He’s naturally a left tackle but we wanted to give him a ton of reps at right tackle, which we did. He really improved in his pass protection. He actually gained some weight on spring ball, which is hard to do. 

“He’s put five more pounds on since spring ball. He’s got the frame. He’s got broad shoulders and he’ll continue to put the right weight on this summer. He’s really close to 290 now. Drinking lots of milk.”

Heading into his fourth season in the program, the redshirt soph’s role has shifted to being one of the more expierienced players on the line.

“I’d like to be more of a leader and help out the young guys,” said Rohme. “The O-line kind of sets the tone for the game. I think Cindo and Ben do a good job. We all go out there and try to give the team energy and be tone setters this season. We want to start the game off fast and end it off right.”

The Stanford start was a breakthrough from Rohme, who felt healthier than he had in a while and graded out well in a strong performance in the Bears’ Big Game romp over their rival last season.

“I just felt more confident,” said Rohme. “My redshirt freshman season, I got in a couple games during the covid season. Then last season, I was able to play the second half of the season. That Stanford game was where I started to feel more comfortable and confident and felt like I belonged, almost. I finally got all the assignments down and was just able to go out there and play.”

Like many spring ball observers, Rohme and his teammates are excited by what looks to be a revitalized offense with new starting QB contenders Jack Plummer and Kai Millner along iwth a deep and talented young receiving and running backs corps.

“Crazy things going on with the offense,” said Rohme. “It’s exciting. I think it’s good because we’ve had the playbook for 2 ½ years and everyone knows their assignments and we’re just going out there and playing. It’s been great expanding the playbook, too, and we’re still adding more stuff. It’s gonna be a fun year.”

After stumbling to losing conference records, even during bowl seasons, during everyone on the roster’s tenure at Cal, the team is ready to take things to the next level this season.

“I think the sky’s the limit for us this year,” said Rohme. “Our three goals have always been to win the division, win the Pac-12 and win whatever bowl game that gets us, Rose Bowl or whatever. 

“We’ve got good offense. We’ve got good defense. We have good depth and good guys on the team. I just think we’re gonna go for that Pac-12 championship and see where it takes us.”

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