Mike Leach: Arizona State has a command center for stealing signs

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday October 18, 2016

A year ago, several Pac-12 schools accused Arizona State of stealing signs, and Mike Leach called for an investigation. But Todd Graham admitted it and defended it.

Washington State travels to Arizona State this Saturday, and the topic came up again at Leach’s press conference. As Leach always does, he didn’t mince words, even saying ASU has a “command center.”

“Well, I think they still steal signs. We’ll have to keep an eye on that,” he said. “That’s certainly the reputation, and I think they have technology an expertise on the subject, which if they ever go to a different conference or something, I’d certainly like them to share it with us. Yeah, you’ve got to keep an eye on them. They’ll steal signs, and 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 make sure it’s within the rules.”

Last year, Oregon used huge white sheets on the sideline at Sun Devil Stadium to cover them up. Leach wasn’t sure if Wazzu would do something similar.

"We’ll have to see. That is a very unsavory practice they have, so we'll have to do what we can to defend ourselves against it,” Leach said. “They’ll try to victimize you with some sign-stealing, there’s no question. You have to cover them up. Otherwise, they know all your signs and they’ll bounce around.”

There’s nothing illegal about watching another team’s signs, even with binoculars. Graham said last year that other teams take ASU’s signs, too, but also said he knows it’s illegal to record audio or video. Jim Mora and Kyle Whittingham said it’s just part of the game. Graham said someone who had a problem should pick up the phone and call him.

But Leach said he’s heard “rumors” of recording at Sun Devil Stadium. He wouldn’t say ASU actually does it, but said there are teams that have recorded signs.

“I’ve heard a lot of rumors of microphones to pick up extra sound, perhaps what the quarterback’s saying, close-up cameras, stuff like that,” Leach said. “I don’t know if they shoot coaches on the sideline. Some teams will. 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. Some guys, they’ll film the guy they think is signaling on the sideline, so the next time they play, they can hopefully sort out what they think they see.”

When a reporter noted to Leach that Graham said many teams watch signs, Leach replied, “Not like them where they have a whole command center designed around this stuff. I think either everybody ought to or nobody ought to.”

The Cougars and Sun Devils will kick off at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.