Rich Rodriguez vowed to play fast when he was hired at the UA five years ago.
“I told the guys we’re not going to hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya,’” he told the Star then.
Friday was the Territorial Cup, though, so of course things got weird. Nothing weirder than this: Arizona huddled on offense.
Rodriguez had his reasons. Arizona State has a reputation for stealing signs during games. Oregon and Washington State have voiced concerns with the Devils in the past.
The Ducks used large cloth sails to block ASU from seeing the signals coming in from the sideline. Arizona chose to huddle on Friday, even sending in players as “subs” only to immediately send them back to the sideline. Those players were presumably running in play calls.
Nobody, as far as we know, called anybody names. Washington State coach Mike Leach famously called out ASU coach Todd Graham earlier this season during a press conference. The Cougars then beat the Sun Devils, and Graham responded by calling Leach “chicken(bleep)” at midfield.
Rodriguez has been aware of ASU’s reputation for years, even if he’s been quiet about it. Asked a few weeks ago what he’d do to thwart a team stealing signs, Rodriguez clammed up.
“Why,” he said, “would I tell you?”