Signalgate Part II has begun. As WSU preps to play Arizona State, Mike Leach has again accused the Sun Devils of the 'unsavory practice' of signal stealing
The issue of signal stealing was front and center leading up to last year’s Washington State vs. Arizona State game.
To be more precise, the notion that Arizona State steals its opponent’s signals was forefront in the conversation.
The Cougs beat ASU 38-24 in Pullman, and whether or not the Sun Devils actually stole WSU’s signals, we’ll never know. But Cougars football coach Mike Leach clearly still believes Arizona State engages in this “unsavory practice,” as he put it.
As WSU prepares for the trip to Tempe this weekend, Leach wasn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on whether the Cougars’ opponent engages in the nefarious practice of signal stealing.
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“I think they still steal signs,” Leach said Monday. “They have that reputation, and they have a certain amount of technology and expertise on the subject.
“You’ve gotta keep an eye on it. They’re gonna steal signs and they’re pretty clever about it. It’s like breaking the Enigma code, with them.”
The controversy over whether Arizona State steals other teams’ signals during games first erupted last season after Oregon used big white blankets on their sidelines to hide their signals from the Sun Devils.
Since then, Arizona State coach Todd Graham has openly admitted that his team steals their opponents’ signals but defended the practice by saying other teams do it as well, and the onus is on each team to take measures to ensure their signals are not deciphered by their opponents.
But Leach says most teams don’t resort to the means the Sun Devils allegedly go to to try and steal opponents’ signals.
“Not like them, where they have a whole command center that’s designed around that stuff,” Leach said. “I think either everybody ought to (steal signals) or nobody ought to.”
Is it easier for Arizona State to steal their opponents’ signals when they’re playing at home at Sun Devil Stadium?
“That’s a great question,” Leach said. “I’ve heard a lot of rumors about microphones to pick up extra sound, perhaps what the quarterback is saying, close up cameras, and stuff like that. It’s totally illegal.
The Cougars head coach even suggested that the league should do a “full on investigation” to determine if and how the Sun Devils steal opponents’ signals “and make sure it’s within the rules.”
The Sun Devils are 5-2 on the season and coming off a defeat to Colorado on the road. They are, however, 4-0 at home this year. You have to look back to Oct. 10, 2001 to find the last time WSU beat Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz.
So will the Cougars resort to extraordinary measures to guard their signals from the Sun Devils’ prying eyes?
“We’ll have to do what we can to defend ourselves against it,” Leach said.