Oklahoma State Football: Cowboys Can't Give Up on the Diamond Formation Yet

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 4, 2013

Sep 28, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver Josh Stewart (5) is tackled by West Virginia Mountaineers safety K.J. Dillon (9) during the fourth quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Even though this is twisting the proverbial knife, we're going to revisit Oklahoma State's painful loss one more time before moving on to the Kansas State game on Saturday. 

Sorry, Cowboys fans. I know it hurts, but you can't move forward without looking back at past mistakes. And there were a lot against the West Virginia Mountaineers, both on offense and special teams. The good news is that a majority of what happened last week is correctable. 

One of the most surprising areas Oklahoma State struggled with was running the ball. The Cowboys came into Week 5 against WVU, averaging about 165 yards on the ground. Against Mississippi State in Week 1, OSU's toughest competition in nonconference play, the Pokes racked up 286 yards rushing. 

A lot of that success came via quarterback J.W. Walsh, who has been a big part of the run game this year since he's currently the team's leading rusher.

Remember that Clint Chelf, not Walsh, started the game for OSU in Week 1. Until Walsh entered the game, the offense was unable to put points up on the board. 

One of the formations that Oklahoma State had a lot of success with was the so-called diamond formation out of the pistol. As you can see in the video below via The Sideline View, once OSU went with the diamond formation with Walsh, the Cowboys were able to move the ball in big chunks down the field, resulting in a touchdown. 

That diamond formation allows Oklahoma State to run a lot different plays, including option and misdirection. 

The diamond did make an appearance in the loss to WVU on a critical goal line stand by the Mountaineers. On the first play, Oklahoma State running back Jeremy Smith took it right up the middle and was only prevented from scoring because of an outstanding individual effort by WVU's Darwin Cook. 

The second play was a fade pass from Walsh to receiver Tracy Moore, which was broken up. On third-and-goal, Smith was gobbled up in the backfield by WVU defensive end Dontrill Hyman. It was great penetration by the Mountaineers up front. Overall, it was a well-executed defensive stand. 

Keep in mind that Dana Holgorsen runs a similar offense at West Virginia, and these two coaching staffs know each other well. There wasn't going to be any secret about what each side was running, so it comes down to execution. That's how it's going to be for Oklahoma State going forward in Big 12 play. 

Oklahoma State didn't execute in a lot of areas last Saturday, but that doesn't mean everything needs to change. Walsh can run and throw, but it's clear that he's still developing in the latter category. Both of his picks against WVU were overthrows on the move outside of the pocket. 

An option-based attack is what Oklahoma State's offense was built on with Walsh. In many ways, OSU got away from that last Saturday. 

It'll be interesting to see how much the diamond formation is used by Oklahoma State going forward and whether the Cowboys can get back to having success with it. It's a good formation that keeps defenses guessing because of all the different options it provides, so I would be surprised if they abandoned it.