Can Dillon Gabriel pick up where Bo Nix left off?

College football is fluid by nature. Unlike the NFL, where a team can be led by the same quarterback for more than a decade, college teams will hold on to their stars for three-to-four years at most. And as restrictions on the transfer portal and NIL compensation continue to dissipate, flows through college football are just getting faster.

A decade ago, it would feel unnatural to call a QB like Bo Nix, who played two seasons and less than half of his career as a Duck, an all-time Oregon great, but that’s how good Bo was. Now, Nix’s time at Oregon is gone and a new transfer QB will be conducting the Ducks’ offense: Dillon Gabriel. And with just one year of eligibility remaining, Gabriel’s time in Eugene will be even shorter than Nix’s.

Gabriel’s college career has been long and successful thus far, which made him a high-profile transfer as soon as he hit the transfer portal. But coming to Oregon after Bo Nix comes with pressure — pressure to go further than Nix did in his two Oregon seasons.

On Thursday’s episode of the Bleav in Oregon Podcast, Zachary Neel and Jonathan Stewart talked about what the transition from Nix to Gabriel will be like.

“I think he’s talented enough,” Neel said. “I think this offensive staff is smart enough and good enough to coach him that they’ll have him in the right spots. I’m also aware of the possibility that there is a little bit of a drop-off. New QB in a new system, it’s not always a seamless transition.”

Playing quarterback at any level of football comes with pressure because so much of a team’s success rides on QB play. And at a high-profile program like Oregon, those pressures are compounded. It’s likely that this season, both the laurels that come from the highs and the probing questions that come with the lows will be directed at Gabriel.

That’s not to say Gabriel isn’t ready to take those pressures on. As Stewart went on to say, “He delivered at Oklahoma,” one of the biggest programs in the sport. In his two seasons with Oklahoma Gabriel threw for nearly 7000 yards, 55 touchdowns, and completed 66 percent of his passes. Stewart also pointed out an area of similarity between Nix and Gabriel: their judgment.

“One thing that we can expect in the sense of Bo Nix and Dillon Gabriel, they’re both good decision-makers,” Stewart said. “Can he run, can he pass? Sure. That’s great. But, can he make the right decisions?”

We’ll only get to see Gabriel in a No. 8 Oregon jersey for a season, and of course, we don’t know how it will turn out. But there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the 2024 Oregon Ducks, none greater than Dillon Gabriel.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire