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The Sideline View: Weekend Clinic - The Broken Diamond

  • Thread starter Lanky Livingston
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Lanky Livingston


Interesting analysis of how WVU & Texas A&M ran the football this past weekend. I put this in the SOW forum because it appeared to me that we've seen at least a little of the "broken diamond" with Griffin, Morris & Banks (or similar formation). If not, I wonder how long until they start implementing it?

Throughout the weekend, college teams lit up scoreboards like a Christmas tree. Heck, West Virginia's Geno Smith and Baylor's Nick Florence combined to throw for over 1,200 yards in one game. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel set a Texas A&M record, throwing for 453 yards against Arkansas.

So, the passing games are hitting their stride through the first 1/4 of the season. But, for as much as West Virginia and Texas A&M accumulated passing yards like they were grains of rice, I was intrigued more by how West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen/OC Shannon Stewart and Texas A&M OC Kliff Kingsbury utilized the run game -- in particular out of the diamond formation. Or, better put (and as I callit): The Broken Diamond.

This is the original construction of the Diamond formation with the quarterback in the pistol formation, two backs on either side and one tailback directly behind him. Out of this formation, Holgorsen could run power either direction, motion a "power" back to one side or the other and run lead or power as well. He started running the diamond when he was at Oklahoma State with Kendall Hunter as his tailback, but he and others have found ways to take the diamond to a different level.

But, at West Virginia Stewart/Holgorsen don't utilize three backs in the backfield often -- and why would they when they have three of the best wide receivers in the Big 12 with J.D Woods, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey? But, they want to be able to use the concepts they've fostered within the diamond formation to run the ball against an advantageous box.

I give you "the Broken Diamond". As with the wishbone many eons ago, we'd refer to the bone as being "broken" when one of the halfbacks motioned out of the formation or lined up in the slot, essentially leaving the 'Bone broken.

That's what West Virginia does with its diamond -- it puts one of its receivers, typically Austin in the slot, instead of completing the diamond formation. QB Smith lines up in the pistol formation with tailback Andrew Buie behind him and a fullback to his left as the remaining diamond power back.

Because West Virginia is so good at exploiting the perimeter throwing bubble screens or quick hitch screens, teams overcompensate and will only leave five or six guys in the box. This is exactly what happened to Baylor. The Bears lined up as you see above with five interior defenders from tackle to tackle, which plays right into West Virginia's hands. The Mountaineers have an outside zone run called. Now, a typical outside zone will have the linemen attempting to "zone" all the way to the nickel back/linebacker as seen here:

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