Oklahoma Sooners

On3: ‘Dillon Gabriel Isn’t Spencer Rattler, He’s Better Than That’

After a 6-7 season in 2022, Oklahoma fans are looking to place the blame somewhere for the worst season in Norman since 1998.

Fair or not, the blame has landed squarely on the shoulders of quarterback Dillon Gabriel. In 2023, Gabriel completed 62.7% of his passes for 3,168 yards and 25 touchdowns to six interceptions. He also added six scores on the ground and 315 yards rushing.

Now, those numbers are far from what Sooner Nation has grown used to with names like Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and Caleb Williams coming through in recent years, but Gabriel was far from being the main issue for OU in 2022.

 

No, that honor goes to the Oklahoma defense, which was atrocious in 2022, giving up 30.0 points per game. However, it seems that OU fans want to pile on the quarterback with the 22nd-best QBR in 2022 and give the job to a five-star freshman.

SoonerScoop’s Carey Murdock says that Sooner fans need to pump the brakes.

“Dillon Gabriel, he is not Spencer Rattler when he was at Oklahoma,” Murdock said on the On3 YouTube show. “OU fans tend to think like (Gabriel) is Spencer Rattler and there’s a Caleb Williams now waiting in the wings to take over for him. He’s better than that. I mean, Dillon Gabriel is a really good quarterback.”

 

The Sooners have the highest-graded returning quarterback in the Big 12 this season with Gabriel under center, but fans that have seen Heisman-caliber talents stacked up in Norman over recent seasons are ready see what five-star freshman Jackson Arnold has in the tank.

It might be true that Arnold is the best quarterback on Oklahoma’s roster, but Gabriel will be the starter in 2023.

“Like I said, I wasn’t saying that Jackson Arnold would be the starting best starting quarterback in the Big 12. It’s gonna be Dillon Gabriel,” Murdock said. “I still have a lot of belief in this kid. The fans, they see the flashy five-star, they’ve seen it before just in recent memory where you get rid of a guy that isn’t Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray, or even Jalen Hurts, and they think that there’s something better.

 

“Go back to Texas last year OU fans. Davis Beville was a disaster as a starting quarterback. They had to run the Wildcat most of that game. It can get a lot worse than Dillon Gabriel. Think about a year ago. Not three years or four years ago. Think about a year ago OU fans.”

The Sooners are looking to improve in a big way in 2023, and it seems that they are trending that direction. After losing five games by one score, Oklahoma’s win total is set at 9.5 heading into the season. Getting to nine or even 10 wins this time around would be a massive win for Brent Venables and the Sooners after a rough start to the Venables era last year. If that is going to happen, it will likely be with Dillon Gabriel at the helm, so buckle up Sooner Nation. Gabriel is your guy in 2023.

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