Ohio State Football: Can Buckeyes' New 'Diamond' Formation Have a Big Impact?

Tim BielikSenior Analyst IApril 8, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes hands off the ball to Carlos Hyde #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

For a new dimension to Ohio State's offense, Urban Meyer didn't have to look any further than the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers to find a new wrinkle.

Made famous by Colin Kaepernick's outstanding postseason run, the 49ers made the 'diamond' formation a very effective set that made life for defenses even tougher to defend along with Kaepernick's zone-read ability.

Trying to incorporate that offense in Meyer's zone-read playbook almost seems like a perfect fit and he has started to add it to the Buckeyes' arsenal throughout the spring.

The 'diamond' formation is similar to the full house with three backs in the backfield, but instead of the quarterback lining up under center, he lines up in the pistol, only a couple of yards behind the line of scrimmage.

The Buckeyes finished last season ranked No. 10 in rushing yards per game behind an outstanding season from QB Braxton Miller and blossoming talent like Carlos Hyde, who fell a few yards shy of 1,000 a year ago.

OSU has four running backs back from last season who scored a rushing touchdown, plus the additions of redshirt freshman Warren Ball and highly-touted freshmen Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott to the mix.

Running the 'diamond' allows Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman to put three backs in the backfield with Miller. The key to this is that OSU has multiple types of runners from power backs like Hyde and Rod Smith to smaller, shiftier backs like Jordan Hall.

The part of the diamond formation that makes it so tough to defend is that the quarterback can hand the ball off to any of the three backs, keep it on a read-option or run play action and throw it. In other words, its biggest weapon is in its versatility, where OSU can take full advantage of it.

OSU will still rely on the basic zone-read play that it ran very well last season, especially with the speed of Miller on the outside combined with the downhill power run of Hyde.

The 'diamond' formation may just be an extension of what the basic zone read has done, adding multiple dimensions that make it very tough to defend.

It may be run only a few times per game, or about 15-20 depending on the situation and opponent.

But with the way the game continues to evolve and the depth Ohio State has at running back, this formation may soon become a staple of the Buckeye offense if it continues to grow during the spring.


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