Studying the 49ers' offense came in handy for one new OC this weekend
- by Doug Samuels 11 months ago
Mike Yurcich's first game as the Oklahoma offensive coordinator didn't go quite as smooth as he would have liked. The Cowboys struggled offensively for the first quarter and a half, trying to implement a two quarterback system early in the game before finally finding something that clicked.
As the more mobile option of the two quarterbacks, J.W. Walsh lined up with three backs surrounding him in the pistol (what has become known as the diamond formation) and went to work shredding the Mississippi State defense with some read option concepts. Dana Holgorsen introduced the formation in Stillwater a few years back, but the read option part was a new wrinkle that the offensive staff added over the spring after watching some tape on the 49ers tearing up NFL defenses with the scheme.
“We were playing a team that has the capability of beating us. We needed to stay with what we thought gave us the best chance to win the game.” Mike Gundy told ESPN.
The diamond formation and read option with Walsh at the helm was what got the offense back on track. Walsh went on to rush for 125 yards, throwing for 135 more and ended the week as the leading rusher in the conference. The new read option wrinkle was something that Mississippi State likely didn't prepare for, and as most of us have learned, not being assignment sound against the any form of option football will hurt you.
"We installed that last spring. It was effective back then, so we continued to work at it. We studied tape of the San Francisco 49ers, who ran it well with Colin Kaepernick. We tried to grab some film from that. They ran some of those exact plays out of that formation, so we just looked at a lot of their tape." Yurcich added.
Rest assured that the defensive coordinators that remain on Oklahoma State's schedule will be taking a look at some of that same 49ers footage, and this Mississippi State game, heading into the week that they take on the Cowboys. If OK State can continue to mix in the read option stuff, and find a way to get things back on track winging the ball around like they have in the past (which also gets some of their best playmakers on the field), this offense could prove to be even more dangerous than they've been the past few seasons.
A good look at some of the productivity of the read option from the diamond formation can be seen below. Without this wrinkle, this could have been a very different game, so props to the offensive staff for finding creative ways (beyond their scheme that has already proven to be very effective) to further stress out defensive coordinators.