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Steal Cage Match: Mike Leach vs Todd Graham

Harsh words exchanged between coaches

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NCAA Football: Washington State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The main plot in any college football game is who wins and who loses the game. However, every once in a while you get a real tasty sub-plot to a football game. When the Arizona State Sun Devils played the Washington State Cougars on Saturday night you had an interesting twist between the two head coaches of each school.

There have been quiet whispers for a season or two in regards to Arizona State and their alleged signal stealing of other schools offensive and defensive signals.

The first coach to talk about these rumors to my knowledge was Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich. When Oregon visited last season, they went so far as to bring huge curtains to shade their signal callers from the supposed prying eyes of the Sun Devil coach staff.

Now, nothing, and I mean nothing has been proved with any shred of evidence. However, it has not quelled the rumors that Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham and his staff have been stealing signals.

Fast forward to this past week.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach, who is not immune to saying some outlandish things suggested that Sun Devils have a command post inside their program that steals signals. What? A command post?

Does Coach Leach believe that college football has devolved into some clandestine CIA operation?

“I think they still steal signs, and we’ll have to keep an eye on that. That is a very unsavory practice they have, so we’ll have to do what we can to defend against it.” Leach said in his weekly press conference.

Leach went onto say that he’s heard rumors of microphones and cameras being used by the Sun Devils.

Needless to say, this type of accusation did not sit well with Arizona State head coach Todd Graham. During a press conference during on Tuesday, Coach Graham addressed the concern.

“Let me make this perfectly clear: We do everything exactly by the rules, period. Obviously we take a great deal of pride in the integrity that our program has.” Graham said in an irritated tone.

The Pac-12 stepped in between the two coaches and gave Mike Leach at $10,000 fine and a reprimand to what amounted to conduct detrimental to the Pac-12.

Jump to Saturday night in Tempe. The Sun Devils and Washington State squared off on the field. It felt like a steal cage match between Todd Graham and Mike Leach.

To my knowledge the two coaches were not seen talking before the game while the two teams warmed up.

We had to wait until after the game to see and hear that discussion.

Once the game was over, the two coaches met to shake hands and that is when Todd Graham let him have a piece of his mind.

Microphones and television cameras picked up what Coach Graham told Coach Leach. Graham told Leach that his comments were “chickensh**”. He also told Coach Leach that that he’s “always respected (Leach), but that’s bull****.”

Leach’s response was just classic Mike Leach. He didn’t say anything to Graham and walked off the field.

In the end, Todd Graham got to tell Leach what he thought of him, but here’s the question. Why is Leach being let off the hook so easily by media? Leach had nothing. Absolutely nothing to back up his claims. If you are going to make a claim about the integrity of another program you better have something in your back pocket to help that claim. Leach had nothing. Absolutely nothing to back up his claims.

Coach Leach didn’t want to discuss it or the Sun Devils strategy during the game.

“I respectfully decline on grounds that I might be publicly reprimanded and fined.” Leach said after the game in regards to ASU’s strategy during the game.

In other words, Mike Leach doesn’t give a-you-know-what about this.

At the end of the day, all Mike Leach is concerned about is walking off the field with a win. On Saturday night in Tempe, Arizona he did. Washington State won 37-32. In college football, that is all that matters. Everything else, especially to Mike Leach, is just white noise.