Dillon Gabriel’s return a ‘boost’ for Oklahoma Sooners

Dillon Gabriel’s return for the 2023 season guarantees that the Oklahoma Sooners will have a better quarterback room next season than they did in 2023. Dillon Gabriel and Jackson Arnold give the Sooners two really good quarterback options for next season.

Arnold’s promise is apparent, but Gabriel is the more stable and safer option for OU in 2023. 2024 will be the year of Arnold.

Gabriel’s return brings stability to a QB room desperately needing it. When Gabriel missed time, Jeff Lebby’s offense simply couldn’t function. David Cobb of CBS Sports shared his thoughts on Dillon Gabriel’s final ride with the crimson and cream.

Ultimately, the offense could only do so much when juxtaposed with a defense that gave up 30 points per game and ranked No. 123 nationally in yards allowed. Gabriel also faced the unenviable task of following in a legacy of heralded quarterbacks at OU that included 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, who starred as a true freshman at Oklahoma in 2021 before following coach Lincoln Riley to Oklahoma. – Cobb, CBS Sports

Scoring every time is the goal, but having to score every time out puts way too much pressure on an offense. It’s unreasonable to expect a team to score touchdowns on 100% of their drives. The offense was far from the Sooners’ biggest issue in 2022, but it has some work to do. Figuring out how to be more efficient on third downs and in the red zone is a start.

Oklahoma was 50th in the nation in third down conversion percentage at 40.9%. In the red zone, the Sooners scored touchdowns on just 84% of their trips inside the 20-yard line. That was 66th at the FBS level.

That said, retaining Gabriel was the best way forward for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2023. Continuity on the offense between the offensive coordinator, the quarterback, and the remaining players on that side of the ball is huge. It’s enough to withstand departures at wide receiver and on the offensive line. Though there will be question marks that follow the Sooners from spring ball to the start of the regular season, knowing what you have at quarterback helps alleviate any of the stress those other questions might create.

Though Jackson Arnold’s arrival to Norman is one that’s highly anticipated, QB1 is Gabriel’s job, as it should be. Another season in Jeff Lebby’s system and with extensive experience at the Power Five level, Gabriel has a chance to have a much better season for the Sooners in 2023.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire