Arizona State has been getting talked about by coaches around the league over the last week and it hasn’t been so much about the play between the white lines.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham believed the Sun Devil coaches were onto something. Then Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost said they worked “diligently” to get signals and Washington State’s Mike Leach suggested an investigation should happen.
Coach Todd Graham was asked about all the chatter Tuesday after practice.
“Do we steal signals?,” the coach asked in response to being asked about Mike Leach’s suggestion. “Yeah we do. Do people steal our signals? Yeah they do.
“Do you see our signs and all the things we do? It’s our responsibility to make sure our signals are safe. By rule you can’t video somebody’s signals, you can’t record their audio. That’s it. There’s nothing illegal about [stealing signals].”
While the practice of stealing signals from another team isn’t illegal, the process of going about it is up for discussion. In an effort to block the Sun Devils from seeing their signals the Ducks had as many as five white sheets on their sideline while they were signaling plays in during their 61-55 triple overtime win last Thursday.
“It’s one thing to just pick up a cue, it’s another thing to break it down as a science and film various things and carry it over from one year to the next and do some special analysis of it,” Leach said during his weekly teleconference with the media.
Leach was responding to the question of stealing signals in general, not necessarily if that’s what he thought the Sun Devils do.
As far as Graham is concerned, he’s questioning why it’s a topic.
“I don’t understand all that, we’re definitely going by the rules and there’s not anything illegal in looking at somebody’s signals or groupings,” Graham said. “I don’t really care what anybody else says, I’m concerned about our program. If I had a questions about somebody else, I’d pick up the phone and call them.
I can tell you we do things by the book and by the rules. So investigate all you want.”
As of Tuesday, the Pac-12 Conference said no formal complaints have been filed about ASU stealing signals.
Even though it appears this has become a thing because of the Sun Devils’ game in Utah two weeks ago, Whittingham fully understands it’s up to his staff and team to be better at disguising calls.
“The onus falls on the guys doing the signaling. If they are, you’ve got to have a Plan B and our Plan B was going to a huddle,” Whittingham said Tuesday.
The Utes huddled in the fourth quarter of that game, scoring 20 unanswered points on the way to a 34-18 win.
In talking to reporters on a teleconference, Graham was asked if he would be in favor of doing things the way the NFL does when it comes to communicating with the quarterback.
“I would be 100 percent in favor of [mics in QBs helmets],” Graham said.
This Saturday the Sun Devils go to Pullman, Wash. to play the Cougars. The game is at 1 p.m. and can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan contributed to this report.