Brent Venables believes Oklahoma's quarterback room has gotten better entering Year 2

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater04/04/23

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Dillon Gabriel was the man last year when it came to Oklahoma’s quarterback spot. Davis Beville saw some snaps but, in general, the transfer from UCF was the main focus in Norman at that spot. However, that may not be completely the case during his second season with the Sooners.

That’s because, based on what Brent Venables said to JD PicKell on ‘The Hard Count’, OU’s quarterback room is in a much better place than it was last season. That starts with the development of their veterans like Gabriel, Beville, and Booty but also includes the addition of Jackson Arnold as part of their Top-10 freshman class.

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“It’s better. Stacked is a pretty eager word,” Venables said. “I love the group of guys and they work incredibly hard. They’ve been good.”

“Dillon is a better version of himself. He’ll be the first to tell you that, whether it’s all things that come with being a quarterback. Pre-snap, post-snap, management, leadership, the precision that comes with that position and that’s necessary from that position,” said Venables. “And then the older guys as well. Davis Beville, General Booty have been really good.”

Gabriel threw for over 3,100 yards last season with a 62.7% completion rate. That led to 25 touchdowns and six interceptions this year after posting similar stats during his two fully healthy seasons in Orlando.

However, Arnold is an interesting addition as the next potential starter for Oklahoma. He arrives as a five-star prospect in the 2023 class according to On3’s Industry Rankings. In the end, Arnold was rated as the No. 8 player in the class overall and the No. 4 QB. That talent has translated early on in spring practice too as Venables said Arnold is soaking in all kinds of information and making an early impression on his teammates.

“Jackson’s done a great job so far. Today will be our fourth practice of the spring. And I’ve been really pleased with his mental capacity. His ability to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it on the field,” continued Venables. “He’s got great instincts and throws with anticipation, he’s got a big arm. A really humble guy, though. A great teammate and loves to work. So he’s got a great foundation and has immediately earned the respect of his teammates, which I think is the most valuable thing that you can have as a player.”

Gabriel is likely to be the starter again this season for the Sooners considering it’s his fifth year of college football. Still, Venables feels good about having more options, specifically Arnold, to move forward with if necessary in this upcoming season.