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Did it make coaches more concerned about their own vulnerabilities? They were never unaware of the risks in the first place."I'd love to say it's rare," Fitzgerald said, "but it happens every day."He added: "Sometimes, maybe, is there some impropriety and guys cross the line? To think about the great [coaches] I've had work for me and think that the great things we do here stay here and they don't leave here, I'd be the most naive guy in the world."Even if you can keep your staff tight-lipped, it's almost impossible to keep them all together for years on end.
Pete Carroll may have oozed cool as the head coach of USC from 2001 to '09, but his former offensive coordinator Norm Chow admits that the two-time BCS championship winner was "unbelievable" when it came to his level of paranoia, believing everyone to be crooked.Then, in all likelihood, coaches will change their indicator sign once a quarter or once a half -- just in case. Washington State coach Mike Leach told local reporters last season that he had heard "rumors" about Arizona State that included video equipment and well-placed microphones that could pick up what the quarterback was saying.He quipped, "It's like breaking the Enigma code with them."But when asked how often he changes signals during the course of the season, he chaffed, saying it was "highly classified.""Do we steal signals?Before Alabama faced Washington in last season's College Football Playoff, Nick Saban became apoplectic when a reporter asked why he'd seen veteran wideout Ar Darius Stewart throwing passes at quarterback during practice.First of all, Saban said, "If we had a good reason for it, do you think I would tell you?But ask exactly where the line is and no one is certain. In college football, it's less out in the open but certainly there."I've been accused of being overly paranoid," Fitzgerald said."I guess we all are."CHANCES ARE THAT EVEN THE COACHES who say they don't care about things like stealing signs are the very ones using two or three dummy signal-callers to confuse opponents. That goes back forever."Recently at Oregon, coaches held up what appeared to be five king-sized white bedsheets to block the view of Arizona State coaches they thought were watching their sideline a little too closely.Not only did Carroll employ assistants to look for discarded play sheets -- "and they actually found some," Chow said -- but he took it a step further by having staffers leave behind fake sheets in the garbage in hopes that opponents would find them and act on bad information.Today, technology has evolved to give some teams an extra layer of security.Before there was Wakeyleaks, there was Faxgate when, in the early 1990s, former Tennessee assistant Jack Sells was caught at Kinko's sending diagrams and notes from the Vols' playbook to friend and Florida defensive coordinator Ron Zook.In 2014, Texas Tech defensive coordinator Mike Smith accused his predecessor Matt Wallerstedt of giving opposing teams the Red Raiders' signals.