Graham responds to Leach accusations of sign stealing

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham said Tuesday that the Sun Devils take a great deal of pride in the integrity of their program.

On Monday morning, Washington State head coach Mike Leach was at it again.

Last season, Leach was outspoken about his belief that Arizona State and head coach Todd Graham were stealing play-calling signals from the Cougars and other teams over the course of the season.

Despite the Cougars' 38-24 victory last year, Leach was adamant that the Sun Devils were illegally stealing signals and trying to earn an in-game advantage. 

With a trip to Tempe next on the docket for Leach, Monday served as an opportunity for the Cougars' head coach to double down on his accusations. 

"Well I think they still steal signs," Leach said at a press conference. "We'll have to keep an eye on that because that's certainly the reputation, and they think they have a certain amount of, a kind of technology and expertise on the subject."

Leach suggested the Sun Devils use technology such as cameras and microphones to pick up audio communications from their opponents, but qualified his statement by saying he doesn't know exactly what ASU does and he'd prefer to keep his suspicions to himself.

"I've heard a lot of rumors of microphones to pick up extra sound to sift and sort extra sound perhaps what the quarterback is saying," Leach said. "I don't know if they shoot coaches on the sideline, some coaches will have cameras which is totally illegal but, I'm not saying they do or they don't, but my thoughts I'll keep to myself and you can imagine what they may be." 

On Tuesday, Graham was offered the opportunity to respond to Leach's accusations, and he made it abundantly clear that the Sun Devils take great pride in operating their program within the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference rules. 

"One, how we do things here, we take a great deal of pride, and we do everything, make this perfectly clear, we do everything exactly by the rules, period," Graham said.

Allegations of signal-stealing first came to light when Utah coach Kyle Whittingham claimed the Sun Devils were guilty of doing so last season. After that game, various opponents came up with different mechanisms to prevent the Sun Devils from even having the opportunity to steal signals. When Oregon played at Sun Devil Stadium last year, the Ducks stood with large white sheets on the sidelines to ensure the ASU sideline would not have a clear view of the Ducks' play callers. 

The Sun Devils haven't been criticized for attempting to steal signs this season until Monday, but Graham didn't take the bait on Leach's comments. The ASU head coach called the accusations "ridiculous" and used a question about Leach's comments to defend the integrity of his program.

"Obviously we take a great deal of pride in the integrity that our program has and I'll just leave it at that," Graham said. "I'm not going to get involved in things like that that are ridiculous. But when you speak about our integrity and my integrity and our integrity as a program, we take great pride in that and we do everything here, we take great pride in how we do things here. Very open and very honest about how we do things so I do want to say that."

News and notes

  • Sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins did not participate in individual drills or a team tempo period open to the media Tuesday. Wilkins arrived at practice wearing running shoes, not cleats.
  • Sophomore safety Armand Perry was also wearing running shoes and did not participate in individual drills or the team tempo period. Perry went over to Muscle Beach during those periods. Perry was injured on the first play of the second half against Colorado.
  • Sophomore left guard Sam Jones wore a walking boot on his right foot and did not participate in warmups. Jones spent the morning at Muscle Beach after being hurt on the final play of the game against Colorado.
  • Junior linebacker D.J. Calhoun wore a green non-contact jersey and did not participate in individual drills, but did align on the field at Will linebacker during the team tempo period. Calhoun looked a bit hobbled running from drill to drill and wasn't at full speed during the tempo period.
  • Junior linebacker Christian Sam walked through the injury line a day after Graham said Sam's recovering from an ankle injury suffered against Northern Arizona was moving very slowly. 
  • Sophomore tight end JayJay Wilson was back practicing Tuesday after being suspended for Saturday's game for a violation of team rules. Wilson did not make the trip to Colorado with ASU.
  • Senior defensive tackle Viliami Latu and junior cornerback Maurice Chandler were each wearing knee braces Tuesday, but both players were full participants in individual and team drills. 

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