Pat Narduzzi knows that stealing signs in college football isn’t some sort of new trend. Its origins date back years and years, and Narduzzi himself has seen it happening since his days as the Cincinnati defensive coordinator in the mid-2000s.
As news of Michigan being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly stealing signs from its opponents broke Thursday afternoon, Narduzzi was asked about sign stealing in college football at his weekly press conference.
And he reflected upon a former Big East rival — he wouldn’t name the program — recording during games. It’s not a trend that Narduzzi likes, but he’s certain it’s still taking place around the country.
“You see our big tarps up out there,” Narduzzi said Thursday. “Let me tell you … I think it’s ridiculous what goes on, and it doesn’t shock me if it happened. Not accusing anybody, but to me, that’s been happening for a while, and I think it can happen with someone going to other games and watching stuff and stealing stuff.
“You can sit in Acrisure Stadium in row five on the 50-yard line and take a camera and video their sideline the whole time, and I’ve heard of people doing this, where you match up the video — ‘Here’s the signals for play 1, here’s play 1, here’s the signals for play 2, here’s play 2.’ And they go, ‘Oh, okay, when he taps his nose, it’s an inside zone, when he taps his ear, it’s an outside zone. Hey, outside, inside.’”
There is a lot of gray area when it comes to sign stealing. According to Yahoo Sports!, the NCAA’s investigation centers around whether Michigan used unnamed individuals to attend games of both scheduled opponents and possible College Football Playoff opponents to gather information on offensive and defensive signs.
Whatever the case, Narduzzi made his thoughts on sign stealing very clear. And he said that Pitt works hard to ensure its own signs remain difficult to decipher — or steal. It’s part of the reason why Pitt has its players wear wristbands on offense.
“It’s crappy sportsmanship, it’s not what’s supposed to happen whether you travel to a stadium and do it, whether you do it in your own stadium, we worry about our signals all the time,” Narduzzi said. “We change our signals up; we change who’s signaling. I think we’ve got a pretty good bead on that.
“It definitely happens, and it would be nice if someone put a stop to it because it’s not good for the game.”