5 Oklahoma Sooners to watch on offense vs. the Longhorns

There’s a great many unknowns for the Oklahoma Sooners on the offensive side of the ball heading into their matchup with the Texas Longhorns. Namely, who’s going to start at quarterback?

Dillon Gabriel appeared in pads in a video released by Oklahoma football’s Twitter account yesterday. Does that mean he’ll be ready to go? Possibly. It feels more likely than it did on Monday.

With how the defense has been playing the last two weeks, the Sooners need a lights out performance from their offense. They can’t afford to punt eight times. They need points and a bunch of them to win.

Here are five players on the OU offense to watch during Red River.

Whoever starts at quarterback

Oklahoma quarterbacks Dillon Gabriel, left, and Davis Beville, right, are pictured during an NCAA college football practice, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Norman, Okla. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Gabriel’s status feels a bit more stable with recent developments, which is an excellent development. Gabriel playing gives the Sooners a much better shot in any game. That is, if he remember how to throw the ball.

Multiple OU possessions ended with overthrows from Gabriel before he left the game.

Davis Beville didn’t fare much better. If Beville does get the nod, he needs to get the ball out on time. TCU sacked him multiple times when he held the ball for far too long.

Whoever starts needs to be on the money. The margin for error is so slim here. Overthrows on third down will bury the Sooners very quickly.

Eric Gray, RB

Oct. 1, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas; Oklahoma Sooners running back Eric Gray (0) runs with the ball as TCU Horned Frogs safety Millard Bradford (28) defends during the first quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Gray is another guy coming off an injury from the TCU game.

Even so, he’s still the Sooners’ No. 1 rushing threat and the most experienced runner on the team. If the starting quarterback isn’t Dillon Gabriel, Gray is going to be leaned on much more than usual.

If Gray can break off a few big runs, it would go a long way toward keeping the Sooners in this game.

Jovontae Barnes, RB

Oklahoma running back Jovantae Barnes (2) plays against Nebraska during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 49-14. AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz

Jovantae Barnes flashed against Nebraska, but he shined against TCU.

The freshman was perhaps the lone bright spot for the Sooners in Fort Worth, carrying the workload in the run game after Eric Gray was injured. Barnes makes up one of three running backs averaging five yards per carry or more for Oklahoma.

With no definitive picture on the health of Marcus Major and Eric Gray, the young running back could be in for another busy day against Texas.

Marvin Mims, WR

Sept. 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) turns to make a punt return against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The series of unfortunate events that was the game against TCU started with a lost fumble that popped out of the arms of Marvin Mims.

Turnovers are something that the Sooners have done a good job of limiting this season, but Mims losing that fumble was all TCU needed to start rolling.

Mims has gone off in this game before. Remember this?


Jeff Lebby, Offensive Coordinator

Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby talks with Dillon Gabriel (8) before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the UTEP Miners at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Jeff Lebby, control the game clock.

Quinn Ewers is starting. Dillon Gabriel is questionable and your defense hasn’t been able to stop a thing in two weeks. Keep the offense on the field.

Having better QB play will help, but the Sooners need to scale back the usage of tempo to win this game. The Longhorns have so many guys that can take over if given the chance. They’re all on offense. Keep them off the field.

The Sooners haven’t scored first since Week 1 against UTEP. Playing from behind is getting old..


So many things need to go right for the Sooners to win this game. They will have to run the offense in an entirely different way than they have to this point in the season. If they run tempo and it works, it means the defense is getting stops.

In short, no matter who lines up at quarterback, expect a busy day for the running backs.

Red River is always a crazy game and each year has its own heroes. Last year, it was Caleb Williams, Marvin Mims and Kennedy Brooks. Who will it be this year?

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire