Brent Venables discusses parallels between Josh Heupel, Dillon Gabriel

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Brent Venables enters his first season as Oklahoma’s head coach in 2022.

Venables returns to Oklahoma after serving as the Sooners’ defensive coordinator from 2004-11 and co-defensive coordinator between 1999-2003.

Venables took part in Big 12 media days Thursday in Arlington, Texas.

He was asked about Oklahoma, under then first-year head coach Bob Stoops in 1999, having a transfer quarterback in Josh Heupel start for the Sooners. Venables added transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel to the Sooners’ roster in 2022.

“There are certainly parallels in many ways, bringing in an experienced lefty in our first year,” Venables said. “To me it goes back just to the people. You’ve got to be good enough. Dillon Gabriel is a winner. You can’t say it any better than that. He’s thrown for 8,000 yards, completed over 60 percent of his passes, incredible touchdown-to-interception ratio, just a great leader. He’s our quarterback. Certainly anything can happen as we move forward through fall camp. It’s always about daily competition, but I feel great I can lay my head down at night knowing not just what he has done on the football field but the quality of the person he is.

“He’s about all the right stuff. He’s dependable. He’s reliable. He’s accountable. He’s humble. He’s one of the hardest workers, shows up early. He’s last one to leave, always working to improve, and he leads by example — guys follow him. He’s a galvanizer of people.”

 

Central Florida coach Josh Heupel and quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) celebrate in the rain after a touchdown against Marshall during the Gasparilla Bowl NCAA college football game Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

 

Gabriel transferred to Oklahoma from UCF. He played for Heupel from 2019-20 at UCF.

Heupel enters his second season as Tennessee’s head coach in 2022. He served as UCF’s head coach from 2018-20.