What OU football coach Brent Venables said about Dillon Gabriel, Red River Rivalry

NORMAN — Brent Venables didn't offer much in the way of injury updates Tuesday after his team was hit with a rash of injuries in last week's 55-24 loss to TCU.

"Today's not the day for that," Venables said, noting that he didn't want to offer an update until he was certain which players would be available for Saturday's game vs. Texas (11 a.m., ABC).

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel, offensive tackle Wanya Morris, safety Damond Harmon, safety/kick returner Billy Bowman and wide receiver Theo Wease were among the players who were injured in the loss to the Horned Frogs.

Venables did say that running back Marcus Major and defensive end Marcus Stripling, who did not travel to Fort Worth for last week's game, were out for injury reasons.

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Oct 1, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA;  Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables walks in a line with his team  before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables walks in a line with his team before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Venables did not answer directly when asked if Davis Beville was the clear choice at quarterback if Gabriel couldn't go.

"Obviously, he's the first one that went in last week," Venables said. "We'll have three quarterbacks taking reps this week and see how the week goes."

Beville, General Booty, and Nick Evers are all options behind Gabriel.

Beville was 7-of-16 passing for 50 yards after coming on in the second quarter after Gabriel took a hit while sliding. The TCU linebacker who hit Gabriel was ejected for targeting.

After the game, Venables said Gabriel was in concussion protocol.

Here are some other things Venables had to say at his Tuesday press conference:

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'Turnovers are part of the game'

➤ After forcing six turnovers in the first three games, OU's defense hasn't recorded a takeaway in losses to Kansas State and TCU.

"You've got to play well to get people to not be able to be one-dimensional or comfortable and be able to protect themselves," Venables said. "Just got to play well. Turnovers are part of the game."

Before being shut out turnover-wise by Kansas State, the Sooners had forced at least one turnover in 22 consecutive games.

OU hasn't gone more than two consecutive games without a turnover since going five consecutive games without one in the 2019 season.

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Brent Venables on OU vs. Texas week

➤ While some players have said the emotion of OU-Texas can serve to help snap the Sooners out of their recent slide, Venables said that's not how he's approaching it.

"This is my feeling. I know the emotion, the intensity.... If we are, or I allow that, then I'm not doing a good job of leading," Venables said. "That's my focus, to make sure that the emotion doesn't paralyze you."

➤ Venables remains positive about the prospect for the defense to turn things around after allowing a combined 1,178 yards over the last two weeks.

"Our desire has been there," Venables said. "Our discipline hasn't."

That confidence, Venables said, stems from the success the Sooners had early in the season and how they've performed at times during the losses. He cited the number of plays last week where OU held opponents to three yards or less.

"Just got to get them doing it well consistently. It's a very frustrating thing," Venables said. "The work, the buy in, the desire, the effort, none of it's been perfect just like the coaching. ... I'm frustrated for them because their work hasn't been rewarded."

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➤ Venables said his role in the defense isn't increasing based on the poor performances, and that his evaluation of things hasn't changed just because the Sooners have lost consecutive games.

"You're always looking at everything," Venables said.

➤ After Billy Bowman was injured on a kick return, Venables said he wasn't going to change his philosophy on using key players on both sides of the ball on special teams.

Venables didn't specify how long Bowman would miss but said, "thankful it's not worse than it's been."

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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU football: Brent Venables talks about Dillon Gabriel, Texas game