Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Diamond Formation - Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners showed an array of different plays from their use of the diamond formation, although once again none of it was truly revolutionary. Like the Cowboys and Horned Frogs they took a formation and ran their base offense from it. Lets take a look at what they showed against their rivals the Cowboys this year.

Inside Zone

The Sooners showed the same type of inside zone play as the Cowboys with the right halfback leading and the left halfback cutting off the defensive end pursuit from the backside.

Inside Zone Cross

The other version of inside zone that the Sooner's showed was a criss-crossing backfield action. On this particular play which is zone to the left the left halfback will cross the formation and cut off backside pursuit by the defensive end. The right halfback will flash fake in front of the QB and run an outside sweep path and the tailback will run his zone course. This was their most prominent way of running the inside zone.

This would have bee a good play had the back hit the hole to his right.


The Sooner's also showed a power play. This one is to the right with the right halfback kicking out the defensive end and the left guard leading through for the tailback. The left halfback sells his outside fake once again.

Dash Solid?

The final run play from Oklahoma was tough to figure out. I originally thought it was outside zone just glancing at the backfield action, however after seeing the blocking scheme upfront it more closely resembles the dash play that TCU ran, with one key difference. Instead of reading the frontside defensive end Oklahoma had him blocked by the play side halfback. Since they're blocking him I don't think we can really call this dash because it's not a read, but I'm not sure what to term it. The front side of the offensive line down blocks and the play side halfback cuts the defensive end.

Notice the cut block on the defensive end?

Play Action

Here is the first of three play action passes the Sooner's showed. The split end to the right will run a dig, with the other running a skinny post it appears. The backfield action resembles the inside zone crossing series

Jones will eventually hit the dig over the middle, which I've highlighted.


This next pass play looks like a basic waggle play, it is off of the inside zone action with a halfback and tailback faking one way and the opposite halfback sneaking under the formation into the flat. The halfback in the flat is a bear to cover because of the inside zone action with him crossing the QB's face to cut the defensive end, and on this instance running past him and uncovered into the flat. It was hard to tell which routes the split ends were running because Jones gets rid of the ball pretty quickly.


This is similar to the waggle, we have both halfbacks crossing the QB, this time however we will see the right side of the offensive line release downfield specifically to help seal the inside backers as Jones looks to dump a quick screen to the tailback. Along with the right side of the line the left halfback will lead for the tailback as well.

I'm sure Oklahoma did more out of this formation, as this was only a one game sample. The same can be said for OSU and TCU as well. A few parting points on the diamond:

1) It's only a formation.

2) However, with the said I think you can do a TON from this formation, as I've noted all three teams really didn't do anything outside of the box of what they would normally do on offense out of this formation.

3) I think this formation will get some more use this coming season from more college teams and I'll be interested to see some more misdirection run plays, and see what teams that do more gap-scheme blocking do in the running game.

4) I think you could adapt most offensive ideas to this set, and I think the three biggest things this formation offers to an offense are the possibility of a deceptive running game from the shotgun, a power running game from the gun, and the play-action passes off both of those.

5) Thanks to the poster who asked to see this, I not only was able to check into this formation but also into what Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and a little of TCU did this season. So many offenses, so little time.

If anyone ever has a suggestion or would like me to cover something in particular I'll do my best to research into the different offensive schemes and ideas of the college football landscape.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Diamond Formation - Oklahoma State Cowboys & Texas Christian University Horned Frogs

As many coaches will tell you, formations are simply that...formations. They are sets which offenses align in to execute their style and type of offense. One of the big formation tweaks to grace the college landscape this season was the Diamond formation, in which a QB aligned in the shotgun with a back behind him, and two backs flanking each of his side. The formation, which I'm sure has been doodled on paper by hundreds of coaches, and probably experimented with at lower levels offers many different options and could provide any style of offense with a new, and I'll admit fun formation to play around with.

This post came about from a comment on one of my other posts requesting a look at the Oklahoma State diamond formation. And while I tried looking for as much information on the Cowboys use of the formation, I was able to find even more information from both Oklahoma and TCU. So this post will deal with each teams use of the diamond formation.

Oklahoma State

Inside Zone

The Cowboys align in the diamond and they're going to simply run one of their base plays, the inside zone to the left. The half back on the right will cut off the pursuit by the defensive end, and the halfback on the left will lead through for the tailback.






Inside Zone Motion

On this version of the inside zone the Cowboys once again align in the diamond, before the snap the left halfback motions over to the right.


The motion halfback will lead through play side on the zone to the right and the original half back on the right will cut off the backside pursuit of the defensive end.





Outside Zone

Oklahoma State also showed an outside zone out of this set to one of the half backs, with the other half back and tail back leading on the play. The halfback will cross in front of the QB and receive the hand off. This is really no different than any other shotgun outside zone play except for the ability to get another lead blocker out in front of the runner with having the tailback.





Inside Zone Play Action

The play action pass that OSU showed was a simple vertical route by the two split ends, while the backs showed an inside zone action.




Texas Christian University

Dash Keep

One of TCU's featured plays this year was the Dash or inverted veer play (which I've already covered here). As I stated at the beginning of the post I mentioned that the diamond is nothing more than a formation to operate YOUR offense out of, and that is what TCU did by adapting the formation to the dash play.

This particular dash play will feature a read of the highlighted defensive end, the left guard pulling and leading for the QB and the halfback on the right and tailback leading for the left halfback should he receiver the hand off.

On the snap of the ball we see the mesh between the QB and RB. We also see the unblocked defensive end begin making his way up the field.

On this particular play the QB (Dalton) should have given and is quickly swallowed up by the unblocked defender.

Dash Play Action

This play action pass is highlighted by the two split ends running stutter-go routes on the outside, which really opens them up. The backfield executes a play action fake off of the Dash play.


This is a simple drop back pass, which seams to be a curl flat route, with the flat coming from the left halfback.

Outside Zone Read

Here is TCU's version of the outside zone, with a read on the backside defensive end. They execute it the same as OSU with the tailback and one halfback leading for the other.

Outside Zone Play Action

Play action pass off of an outside zone fake. We have a dig, post, and wheel by the left halfback.

Dalton looking to hit the halfback running the wheel up the sideline.

Dash Give

Here's the dash play with a give to the running back on his sweep path with two lead blockers.

As you can see both OSU and TCU provide a few different looks from the diamond formation, but play wise it is really nothing new. And that is what most coaches will tell you, formations are cheap, plays are not. Oklahoma State and TCU were able to run their base offensive plays from a new look, nothing too revolutionary about it.

Tomorrow I will post some of the things the Oklahoma Sooners did from their version of the diamond formation. As interesting as all of the things these teams are doing are, I think a more daring thing to think about is what could YOUR team execute from this set? Would it be beneficial to your offense? Does it translate over well to things you already do. With that being said, I definitely see this as being something these teams and others will expand off of next year.