Breaking down OU’s 3 backup QBs for Red River vs. Texas football

General Booty
General Booty /
4 of 4

Davis Beville

Essentially for the entire season thus far, the former Pitt Panthers transfer Beville was listed as the backup quarterback behind Gabriel. Venables, Lebby, and the Sooners brought Beville into the mix out of the NCAA Transfer Portal to fill the backup role behind Gabriel.

But what Beville showed on the field last weekend against TCU looks to be causing this OU coaching staff to think twice about handing the ball for another week as the starter if Gabriel is out against Texas.

Beville struggled to move the ball down the field for Lebby and the Sooners last week. The only two scoring drives he led over the course of more than two quarters for the OU offense should be credited mostly to true freshman running back Jovantae Barnes.

Although, if Beville is the starting quarterback for the Sooners this weekend, what should we be watching out for?

Beville is a sizable and experienced 6-foot-6 and 225-pound pro-style quarterback that originally signed with Pitt as a three-star recruit out of Greenville High School in South Carolina.

Beville does have the physical profile of an NFL quarterback. But the tools just haven’t shown up on film at all since Beville first arrived in college a few years ago.

The first thing that I see when watching Beville on film is decent touch on intermediate and deep throws to wideouts in space. When he’s able to set his feet in a clean pocket, Beville has decent velocity on downfield throws.

He struggled to hit the deep ball against TCU, going 0-of-4 on deep passing attempts in that game. But he was more effective at Pitt in the last two seasons throwing the intermediate and deep passes where he completed 6-of-8 passing attempts for 147 passing yards, no touchdowns, and no picks.

Beville is also a wirey runner that won’t threaten you with his legs all that much. He was timed running a 4.80 second 40-yard dash time coming out of high school.

The pocket awareness that Beville brings to the table is a major question mark (to say the least) after his performance against TCU. On passing plays under pressure in each of the last three seasons, Beville never was able to post a passing grade better than 52.0, which is considered below average even in terms of backup Power Five quarterbacks.

He has the tendency to take a lot of sacks. In fact, Beville ranks second (only behind Gabriel) in pressure-to-sack rate in the Big 12 this season, taking sacks on more than 28 percent of passing plays where he comes under pressure. And that pressure-to-sack rate is actually an improvement compared to Beville’s numbers in the previous two seasons, where he registered a pressure-to-sack rate north of 35.0 percent.

In terms of the questions surrounding Beville’s pocket presence, it’s hard to see those issues getting resolved in the span of just one week after he had so many problems against TCU’s defense.

From what I can tell, the biggest difference between Beville and these other two quarterbacks (that works in his favor in this conversation), beyond his experience, is the proven ability to hit those short and intermediate throws out of a clean pocket. In theory, he can lead the type of dink-and-dunk drive that can go 10 or 15 plays that Texas fans are very familiar with from a defensive perspective.

The reason why I say “in theory” is that Beville would probably need a clean pocket to work out of, which the Oklahoma offensive line was not able to provide him against TCU last weekend.

All in all, Beville is probably the most limited quarterback of the three on this list for the Sooners in terms of the degree to which he can unleash Lebby’s offensive playbook. On the other hand, he’s also the most proven commodity in this quarterback room after Gabriel.

If Oklahoma does roll with Beville this weekend, I would imagine that there would be a lot of simple concepts to get the ball quickly and to minimize the reliance on the quarterback run option portion of Lebby’s RPO scheme. Get Beville comfortable with some short throws and setting the tone on the ground with Barnes and Eric Gray.

Next. 4 key visiting recruits for Texas vs. OU. dark

Lebby can then open up the offense with some motion concepts and deception to open up the field for Marvin Mims and Brayden Willis, the two most capable playmakers in the passing game. Get Mims and Willis on some intermediate routes to the sidelines and the former of those two open for the deep ball to see if Beville can find him downfield.