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.
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.
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
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.
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.