‘He’s about all it takes’: OU quarterback Dillon Gabriel shows his confidence and bond with his Sooners teammates at Big 12 Media Days | Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dillon Gabriel is living his dream.

Gabriel stood at the side of the radio row Thursday during Big 12 Media Days inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington after finishing countless interviews, smiling and soaking up the big stage and bright lights . Growing up as a young kid in Hawaii and playing football in his backyard, the Central Florida transfer quarterback dreamed of dressing up for a Power Five program and leading a team through important games in atmospherics. electrical.

“I think it’s exciting, it’s an opportunity that everyone is looking for,” Gabriel said. “You dream of throwing a touchdown, a deep ball to win the game… that’s what it’s all about. I’m ready to fasten my seat belts and play for 60 minutes.

He’s even dressed like a star, sporting custom Air Monarchs with the Christian Dior print, an upgrade from what he says the streets call “dad shoes.” When it comes to style, he says it’s all about comfort, and he looked comfortable in front of the cameras.

redshirt Junior quarterback Dillion Gabriel wearing his custom Dior shoes during Big 12 Media Day on July 14, 2022.

New Oklahoma coach Brent Venables spoke on day two of the Big 12 Media Days for the first time since getting the job. The freshman head coach praised his quarterback, even comparing him to former Sooner national champion Josh Heupel.

“He’s our quarterback,” Venables said. “Granted, anything can happen as we move through fall camp. It’s still a daily competition. But I feel good, I can lay my head down at night knowing not just what he’s done on the football pitch, but the quality of the person he is.

“He’s about all the good things. He is reliable. He is reliable. He is responsible. He is humble. He is one of the hardest workers, he comes early. He is the last to leave. Always working to improve. And he leads by example, and the guys follow him. He is a people booster.

Dillion Gabriel and Ethan Downs

Redshirt junior quarterback Dillion Gabriel and second defensive lineman Ethan Downs during the Big 12 Media Days on July 14, 2022 in Arlington.

One of the redshirted senior’s many goals upon arriving at Norman was to get to know and build relationships with his teammates off the pitch. The inspiration behind it comes from his admiration for Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been very close to his teammates during his career. Throughout spring camp, Gabriel would go out to dinner with several players to build chemistry.

One weekend in June, Gabriel rented an Airbnb in Lawton, Oklahoma, for himself and his teammates to get away from the city and technology and get more connected during what he called the “Dimetime Retreat.” “. The group ate every meal without their phones and enjoyed activities such as basketball, golf and swimming in a nearby lake.

“It was a good time,” Gabriel said. “When I came here, my mindset was to go broke, to go all out. I loved the concept, two nights in a house stuck together, guys sleeping on the floor. The idea that we’re all under one roof, together with the guys.

“I just learned to invest in the people you love and love, whether it’s taking the time to have a conversation or ask the necessary questions or learn more about someone . This experience really pushed me to do this, we took the phones off, we had to put them down and talk to each other (between us)… super proud of it and we had so much fun.

One teammate in particular that Gabriel has grown closer to is junior wide receiver Marvin Mims. The two have spoken highly of each other and will be looking to translate their friendship to the pitch. In the April 23 spring game, Gabriel found Mims in the middle for a first-quarter touchdown.

“He’s just someone I can always talk to, especially if I need help with the offense or something,” Mims said. “I mean, he’s the guy who will be there for everyone, what everyone needs and our relationship has grown tremendously.”

His personality extends beyond his teammates to members of the coaching staff. He’s close with Venables and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, who he played with at UCF in 2019.

Dillion Gabriel

redshirt Junior quarterback Dillion Gabriel during Big 12 Media Day on July 14, 2022.

Playing quarterback in Oklahoma comes with high expectations, which Gabriel doesn’t shy away from. He knew what he was getting into when he left UCLA the day classes started Jan. 3 and wrote in his pledge tweet, “they say life is a gamble like rolling the dice.”

Between his swagger, his strong bonds with his new teammates and his determination to be great, Gabriel is willing to bet on himself and his team.

“I see it as a huge responsibility,” Gabriel said. “I just want to represent this university, my coaches and my teammates with class, respect, confidence and humility, and I take that very seriously.”

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