New year, same controversy.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach cast a critical eye toward the Arizona State football program in 2015 when he accused Todd Graham’s staff of stealing play-call signs.
Graham admitted he will go to any legal length to win games, and it apparently wasn’t enough because ASU fell to the Cougars last year amidst the accusations — those of which haven’t left Leach’s mind a year later.
Meeting with the Washington State press on Monday (see the 15:10 mark of the video above), Leach discussed the Sun Devils’ reputation for sign-stealing that Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and Oregon — by way of white sideline sheets — corroborated a season ago.
“Well, I think they still steal signs and we’ll have to keep an eye on that. That’s certainly the reputation,” Leach said. “I think they have a certain amount of technology and expertise on the subject. If they ever go to a different conference or something, I’d certainly like them to share it with us.
“They’re pretty clever about it. It’s like breaking the Enigma code with them. I think they ought to do a full-on investigation to see how they’re doing it and see if it’s within the rules.”
Asked by a reporter if the Sun Devils were more capable of stealing signs at home in Tempe, Ariz., compared to playing on the road, Leach began speculating.
“I don’t know. That’s a great question,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of rumors of, you know, microphones to pick up extra sound, to sift and sort extra sound — perhaps what the quarterback’s saying — closeup cameras, stuff like that. I don’t know if they shoot coaches (using signals) on the sideline — some teams will — which this is totally illegal and I’m not saying they do or they don’t.
“My thoughts I’ll keep to myself, and you can imagine what they may be.”
Leach sounded resigned to ASU practices.
He said Washington State would do all it could to cover its play-calling, but he added that it would be ideal for college football to make it completely legal or completely illegal.
While Leach’s accusations lacked outright certainty regarding the legality of Arizona State’s sign-stealing, it’s clear Leach isn’t a fan.
“That is a very unsavory practice that they have, and we’ll have to do what we can to defend ourselves against it,” he said. “They’ll try to victimize you with some sign-stealing, there’s no question. You got to cover (play-call signs) up.”
So are the Sun Devils the only team that does it?
“Not like them where they have a whole command center that’s designed around this stuff,” Leach said.
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