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Oregon Ducks Employ New Tactics in Win Against Arizona State

Saturday, November 07, 2015

 

If you watched the Oregon vs. Arizona State game last weekend, you couldn’t have missed the eight-foot tall white sheets held up by Oregon staffers on the sidelines.  According to an article published in The Oregonian, Arizona State has apparently been going to desperate lengths to steal signs for offensive play signals, and the Ducks weren’t taking any chances. 

Oregon needed to pull out all the stops to get the win which finally game in the second overtime when Arrion Springs intercepted a pass that completed, would have tied the game and sent it into a third overtime.  The rumors say the information Arizona State was trying to steal were the signals for run and pass plays.  Knowing this information obviously gives a huge advantage to their defense.  While Oregon came away with a hard-won victory, Washington State’s head coach Mike Leach says the Pac-12 should investigate.  Wazzu is Arizona State’s next opponent, and when asked if he would use any strategies similar to those used by Oregon, he told The Seattle Times, “We’ll have to wait and see. You never know. We might.”

Prior to Arizona State’s game against Oregon, players at Utah also accused them of stealing signs.  Utah center Siaosi Aiono told the Salt Lake Tribune that Arizona State had figured out a couple of their offensive play signals when the two teams faced off last year.  Because of this, the team knew they might face some difficulties.  And they did.  By the third quarter of their game against Arizona State, the Utah offense expressed frustration at the feeling that ASU defenders knew what was coming.  The offense produced only 33 yards and put no points on the board in the third quarter.  

Since Utah suspected some of their play calls had been compromised, in the fourth quarter they switched to the huddle.  After the switch, they produced 118 yards and 20 unanswered points.  Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn’t place any blame on Arizona State though, saying it’s their job to come up with signals that can’t be read.

Sign-stealing isn’t illegal in college football, though some would say it is intensely frowned upon.  What is illegal is using technical equipment to record signs.  At his point in time, it’s unclear whether Arizona State has actually done anything wrong.  What is clear is that if they have been doing it, it hasn’t been helping them win any games.  The team is 4-4.

Right or wrong, Oregon managed to come away with the victory.  How much their sheet tactics helped is unclear.  Some of the Oregon coaches admitted the sheets were there as much for misdirection and confusion as for actually shielding the play calls.  But if they worked, why not use them?  The ultimate statement from the Ducks on sign-stealing was to downplay its impact.  Head coach Mark Helfrich said of the practice, “Even if you know and you’re trying to see a signal, communicate a defense or a group and then call the defense, line up and execute the defense, that’s really hard to do.”

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Top Pac-12 College Football Players

Here are some of the Oregon players who have managed to make it into the 2014 Top Pac-12 Players List.

Prev Next

#22 Byron Marshall

College: University of Oregon

Position: Running Back

In 2013 he had 168 carries, 14 touchdowns, 13 catches, 155 receiving yards, and 1,038 rushing yards.  It’s no wonder he makes it as #22 on this list.  Not only do these stats make him a player to watch, but also a player with a lot of potential to climb the rankings.

 

Photo Credit: Scott Enyeart (Own Work) Live Link (Image Cropped)

Prev Next

#19 Isaac Seumalo

College: Oregon State University

Position: Offensive Lineman

This Offensive Lineman managed to block QB Sean Mannion who set the Pac-12 single-season record with 4,662 yards passing.  With his abilities to block in the manner of which he did makes him a prime candidate to possibly win the Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy, and/or Rotary Lombardi Award.

 

Photo Credit: Karl Maasdam (Own Work) (Image Cropped) Courtesy Oregon State University

Prev Next

#10 Hroniss Grasu

College: University of Oregon

Position: Center

As a junior in 2013 he became one of three Oregon native players to be named All-Pac-12 two seasons in a row.  He has managed to lead the offensive line to the conference’s number 1 rushing attack.  Entering his final year at U of O, Grasu has started all 40 games of his career at UO making him one of the Duck’s greatest players.

 

Photo Credit: Daniel Hartwig (Own Work) Live Link (Image Cropped)

Prev Next

#6 Sean Mannion

College: Oregon State University

Position: Quarterback

Ranking here for breaking the Pac-12 single-season record with 4,662 yards thrown, 35 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, this is a player the NFL is watching closely. Already sitting at #10 on the conference’s all-time passing list, it’s going to be a breeze for him to pass Matt Barkley’s record of 12,327 yards thrown.

 

Photo Credit: Karl Maasdam (Own Work) (Image Cropped) Courtesy Oregon State University

Prev Next

#4 Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

College: University of Oregon

Position: Cornerback

In 2013 he was the second Ducks player to have 84 tackles with 3 interceptions, and 9 passes defended.  He is a force to be reckoned with.  It has been unanimous that he is to be the 2014 Preseason All-American.  It’s also been hinted that he may not last too long in the 2015 NFL draft.

 

Photo Credit: Daniel Hartwig (Own Work) Live Link (Image Cropped)

Prev Next

#1 Marcus Mariota

College: University of Oregon

Position: Quarterback

With stats such as completing 63.5% of his passes with 3,665 yards, 31 touchdowns, only 4 interceptions, rushing a total of 715 yards with 9 touchdowns, this makes him a hot candidate for the NFL.  He has managed to make U of O one of the Pac-12 favorite college teams as well as a national title contender.  He has also set a U of O single-season record throwing 4,380 total yards and set a Pac-12 record by attempting to throw 353 consecutive passes without interception.  He is also in the running to win the Heisman Trophy as a 1A option.

 

Photo Credit: Scott Enyeart (Own Work) Live Link (Image Cropped)

 
 

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