ARIZONA STATE

ASU football coach Kenny Dillingham acknowledges challenges with sign-stealing amid Michigan scandal

Nov 10, 2023, 9:42 AM | Updated: 2:28 pm

Kenny Dillingham, Arizona State...

Head Coach Kenny Dillingham of the Arizona State Sun Devils tells the Sun Devil offense to wait on running a play during the second quarter against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Sun Devil Stadium on August 31, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Bruce Yeung/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Yeung/Getty Images)

Michigan football and its alleged sign-stealing scandal have become the talk of the college football world.

With Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh suspended for the rest of the regular season, the topic has even extended to Arizona State football coach Kenny Dillingham, who was asked about sign-stealing on his weekly visit with Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta.

“Obviously in the spread era of offense, you have to communicate via hand signals if you choose to do that,” Dillingham said. “The negative of that is people can try to get your hand signals throughout the game and try to call plays based off of it.”

He noted the importance of fail-safes such as being able to change which assistant is giving the calls in-game when an opposing team figures out your system.

Bickley & Marotta co-host Vince Marotta likened Michigan’s situation to the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal during their 2017 World Series run, bringing up the technology changes that came to Major League Baseball afterwards.

Electronic pitch calling was introduced in 2022, eliminating the need for catchers to give hand signals to pitchers, which could sometimes be seen by baserunners and bullpens.

Dillingham suggested bringing NFL-style radio communication between coaches and quarterbacks, but acknowledged the difficulty that may come up with offenses that like to play faster.

I don’t know if there’s a perfect answer to that, I think that’s just part of the game,” Dillingham, an offensive guru, explained. “If your advantage is going fast, you have to prevent a team from understanding what you’re gonna do.”

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