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Diamond Watch: Missou State and UTSA

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Since it's inception under Holgerson, the Diamond formation has been an important component of the Oklahoma State offense. How effective has it been thus far in 2014?

Desmond Roland totes the rock against UTSA
Desmond Roland totes the rock against UTSA
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Followers of the blog know the "Diamond" as a favorite offensive formation closely correlated with offensive success. While the running abilities of J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf added a potent veer option dimension to the set, the formation's use in 2014 has met with mixed results.  While lacking statistics for the opener against Florida State, I have kept (unofficial) notes against the other two non-conference foes.

As outlined in the following tables, plays out of the diamond formation sputtered until the very end of the game against Missouri State, while UTSA largely rendered the formation ineffective:

OSU vs. Missouri State

# Pass / Run Gain / Loss Notes
1 Run 2
2 Run 8 Zone read
3 Run 0 Goal line
4 Run 1 TD
5 Run 1 Goal line
6 Run -2 Goal line
7 Run 45 Sweep to Hill
8 Run 2 Pat Jones special
9 Pass 21 Pass to Seales, TD
10 Run 20 Reverse to Washington

Total: 98

Average: 9.80

Median: 2.00

Skew: 1.75

Note the increased usage on the goal line and the relative ineffectiveness of the formation until Tyreek Hill broke loose on a 45 yard run play to the edge. Of the ten plays under this formation, nine were running plays. Three of the last four plays greatly skewed the average (indicated by the positive "skew" value). While any offense would be happy with 9.8 yards per play, the median gain from this formation was a mere two yards. Conversely, three of the ten plays were "chunk" plays of twenty yards or more.

OSU vs. UTSA

# Pass / Run Gain / Loss Notes
1 Run 4 Childs
2 Pass 0 Incomplete, bad throw
3 Pass 0 Incomplete to Seales
4 Run 3
5 Run 6 Up the middle
6 Pass 0 Incomplete; long ball to Sheperd (non PI call)
7 Run 1 Hill, sweep
8 Run 1 Roland, up the middle
9 Run 4 Roland, up the middle
10 Run 4 Roland
11 Run 1 Roland

Total: 24

Average: 2.18

Median: 1.00

Skew: 0.51

In contrast, plays out of the diamond formation were not nearly as effective against UTSA. The average play netted a little over two yards and the dataset's skew was nominal. This, despite a dearth of goal-line opportunities (which, by definition, result in under ten possible yards per play) against UTSA. Multiple incomplete pass attempts clearly mar the final results.

Few definitive conclusions can be reached provided such a limited dataset against non-conference opponents.  That said, it's apparent that:

  1. The lack of Daxx Garman as a run threat has affected the initial use of the formation. The veer option look has reverted to a more Holgy-Weeden-esque approach. Think 2010 instead of 2013.
  2. Tyreek Hill's speed is more important to LEGO guy than an extra fullback/blocker.
  3. Daxx will be passing out of the formation more than J.W. Walsh.

What differences or similarities have you noticed in the formation's use and effectiveness in 2014? Do you expect to see more of less of the formation going forward?