Taking a deep dive into Oregon QB Dillon Gabriel’s advanced stats in 2023

The Oregon Ducks will have a new man behind center at the start of the 2024 season, with former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel transferring into the program in the wake of Bo Nix and Ty Thompson leaving.

For fans of the Oregon Ducks, that is an enticing prospect, as they get to deep dive a new player’s numbers and find out the good and bad from his already long career at the college level. Gabriel has played for five seasons, three of which came at UCF, and two of which came at Oklahoma. During those years, the QB has put a lot of great things on tape, and proven to be an efficient passer who can get mobile when needed. He’s also shown that some weaknesses in his game need to improve.

So where did Gabriel thrive in 2023, and where does he need to continue to work? Let’s dive deep into some of his advanced stats and see what we can learn:

Overall Passing Numbers

2023 Passing Numbers
266-for-384 (69.3%), 3,660 yards (9.5 YPA), 30 TD, 6 INT

2023 Pro Football Focus Passing Grades
90.3 (5th in the nation with minimum 250 dropbacks)

Analysis: By all means, Dillon Gabriel was a very solid passer in 2023. His completion percentage was respectable, though not up to the extremely unrealistic standard that Bo Nix set in Oregon, but he proved to be efficient with the ball and keep it out of harm’s way for the most part.

Gabriel’s 9.5 yards per attempt were right on par with Nix at 9.5, and his PFF passing grade was just slightly below Nix’s (92.1). By looking at just the raw passing numbers from last season, Duck fans should feel good that they are bringing in a QB who can keep up a similar level of production as their Heisman finalist QB.

Play Action vs. No Play Action

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2023 Play Action Numbers
226 Dropbacks | 136-for-201 (67.7%), 2,207 YDS (11.0 YPA), 20 TD, 6 INT

2023 Non-Play Action Numbers
206 Dropbacks | 182-for-206 (70.3%), 1,448 YDS (8.0 YPA), 10 TD, 0 INT

Analysis: It’s interesting to note that Oklahoma heavily utilized the play-action pass, faking a run on 52.3% of Gabriel’s dropbacks in 2023. In comparison, Bo Nix and the Ducks used play-action on just 34.8% of snaps in 2023.

Unsurprisingly, the average yards per attempt increased on PA passes, which is common, but Gabriel was often prone to put the ball at risk a bit more in these instances, with all 6 of his INTs in 2023 coming after a run fake. Meanwhile, on non-PA passes, Gabriel’s ADOT dropped, but he was more efficient and had a better TD:INT ratio.

I will be very curious to see going forward if Will Stein and the Ducks incorporate more play-action to help Gabriel in 2024, or if they will try and have him adapt to their system a bit more.

Screen vs. Non-Screen

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2023 Screen Numbers
91 Dropbacks | 73-for-79 (92.4%), 474 YDS (6.0 YPA), 3 TD, 0 INT

2023 Non-Screen Numbers
341 Dropbacks | 191-for-304 (62.8%), 3,181 YDS (10.5 YPA), 27 TD, 6 INT

Analysis: Unsurprisingly, most of Gabriel’s work came on non-screen plays at Oklahoma, but when he was asked to throw it short, he found some real success. That is a part of his game that is likely going to expand a lot in Will Stein’s offense, where the primary goal is to get the ball into the hands of playmakers as quickly as possible and let them go to work.

Deep Throws (20-plus Yards)

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2023 Deep Ball Numbers
30-for-60 (50.0%), 1,200 YDS (20.0 YPA), 8 TD, 3 INT

Deep Left
7-for-16 (43.8%), 265 YDS (16.6 YPA), 1 TD, 1 INT

Deep Center
18-for-29 (62.1%), 687 YDS (23.7 YPA), 6 TD, 2 INT

Deep Right
5-for-15 (33.3%), 248 YDS (16.5 YPA), 1 TD, 0 INT

Analysis: Dillon Gabriel airs it out, and he does it well. Completing half of his passes that went 20-plus yards downfield, Gabriel found the most success targeting the middle of the field, where he completed an impressive 62% of long passes for 6 touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, the left quarterback struggled the most connecting on deep passes down the right sideline, but that should come as no surprise since it requires more of a cross-body release, which is far more difficult.

For reference, Bo Nix was similarly successful on deep passes, completing 51% of his 49 attempts for 13 touchdowns and 2 INTs. Similarly, he excelled the most targeting the middle of the field.

Intermediate Throws (10-19 Yards)

2023 Intermediate Ball Numbers
57-for-94 (60.6%), 1,032 YDS (11.0 YPA), 10 TD, 2 INT

Intermediate Left
12-for-21 (57.1%), 181 YDS (8.6 YPA), 2 TD, 0 INT

Intermediate Center
39-for-58 (67.2%), 687 YDS (11.8 YPA), 7 TD, 2 INT

Intermediate Right
6-for-15 (40.0%), 164 YDS (10.9 YPA), 1 TD, 0 INT

Analysis: Once again, we see the middle of the field is the area where Gabriel butters his bread. He completed over 67% of his passes in the center of the intermediate zone last year with 7 TDs and 2 INTs, with the left side being his second preferred spot over the right once again.

These numbers are more on par with what we saw from Bo Nix last year at Oregon, where he completed 66% of his passes for 1,028 yards, 14 TDs, and 1 INT.

Short Throws (0-9 Yards)

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2023 Short Ball Numbers
107-for-134 (79.9%), 1,017 YDS (7.6 YPA), 8 TD, 1 INT

Short Left
26-for-29 (89.7%), 212 YDS (7.3 YPA), 0 TD, 0 INT

Short Center
62-for-79 (78.5%), 638 YDS (8.1 YPA), 6 TD, 0 INT

Short Right
19-for-26 (73.1%), 167 YDS (6.4 YPA), 2 TD, 1 INT

Analysis: It shouldn’t come as a shock to see the completion percentage go way up when you’re working with throws this close to the line of scrimmage. It does show, however, that Gabriel is well equipped to throw the crossing routes that Oregon likes to run, completing almost 80% of his passes over the middle of the right beyond the line of scrimmage. That is an area where Nix thrived this past year, with 1,000 yards and 5 TDs coming from that area.

Behind Line of Scrimmage Throws

2023 Behind LOS Numbers
70-for-78 (89.7%), 406 YDS (5.2 YPA), 4 TD, 0 INT

7-for-7 (100.0%), 19 YDS (2.7 YPA), 0 TD, 0 INT

BLOS Center
56-for-61 (91.8%), 352 YDS (5.8 YPA), 3 TD, 0 INT

BLOS Right
7-for-10 (70.0%), 35 YDS (3.5 YPA), 1 TD, 0 INT

Analysis: This might be one of the more interesting breakdowns, in my opinion. Gabriel had a perfect completion percentage throwing screens to the left side of the field, but those plays rarely went for much success, while throws to the right side, or little dump-offs to the middle were much more likely to hit.

Passing Chart Breakdown

Photo Courtesy of Pro Football Focus

Analysis: This pretty much just puts all of the numbers that we just listed into a visual graph for you, displaying the fact that the center of the field is by for the most preferred spot for Gabriel, who has some incredibly numbers down the middle.

Under Pressure vs. Clean Pocket

2023 Numbers Under Pressure
105 Dropbacks | 43-for-76 (56.6%), 791 YDS (10.4 YPA), 3 TD, 3 INT

2023 Clean Pocket Numbers
327 Dropbacks | 221-for-307 (72.0%), 2,864 YDS (9.3 YPA), 27 TD, 3 INT

Analysis: It’s pretty clear from these numbers that you can impact Gabriel by getting after him and making him feel a bit of pressure. When he had a muddied pocket, his TD:INT ratio was far worse than when his offensive line kept him clean. Fortunately for him, he’s now going to a team with one of the best offensive lines in the nation.

Blitzed vs. Not Blitzed

2023 Numbers When Blitzed
132 Dropbacks | 76-for-121 (62.8%), 1,189 YDS (9.8 YPA), 14 TD, 1 INT

2023 Numbers When Not Blitzed
300 Dropbacks | 188-for-262 (71.8%), 2,466 YDS (9.4 YPA), 16 TD, 5 INT

Analysis: I was pretty surprised to see how good Gabriel’s numbers were when he faced a blitz. He proved that he is able to get the ball out of his hands quickly, and take advantage of the defenders’ aggressiveness, throwing 14 TD on blitzes. With more time in the pocket and fewer defenders in his face, Gabriel tended to put the ball in harm’s way a little bit, with 5 of his 6 INTs coming without an extra defender coming.

Overall Rushing Numbers

2023 Rushing Numbers
93 carries, 373 yards, 12 TD

2023 Pro Football Focus Rushing Grades
77.0 (18th in the nation with a minimum of 50 carries)

Analysis: Much like Bo Nix, Gabriel is a rusher by necessity, not by desire. We’ve seen him take off and get some valuable yards with his legs when he needs to, but his first objective is to sit back and pick apart the defense with his arm.

Rushing Directions

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Rush Outside Left
23 carries, 166 yards (7.2 YPA), 5 TD (12 First Downs)

Rush Inside Left
3 carries, 21 yards (7.0 YPA) 0 TD (1 First Down)

Rush Inside Right
11 carries, 70 yards (7.7 YPA) 1 TD (3 First Downs)

Rush Outside Right
16 carries, 51 yards (3.2 YPA), 4 TD (6 First Downs)

Analysis: As is the case with most quarterbacks, the outside is preferred when rushing, staying away from the big boys in the middle. Gabriel found most of his success running off of the left tackle, where he had 5 touchdowns and picked up 12 first downs on the year.

What We Learned

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For the most part, I think that these numbers show what we already expected to see from Dillon Gabriel — he is an efficient quarterback who may not have the numbers that Bo Nix did a year ago, but certainly brings a high ceiling to Eugene.

Once we get to see him operate with the weapons that the Ducks have, and utilize an offensive line that is as good as Oregon’s it will be interesting to see how much of an impact he can have, and how efficient of a QB he can be. Remember, Bo Nix wasn’t this version of Bo Nix before coming to Oregon. Let Gabriel get into the system and then see what he can do.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire