TEMPE, Ariz. -- If you watched ASU's game against Oregon last week, you couldn't help but notice those 8-foot shields the Ducks used on the sideline to hide their signals to the offense.
Oregon said it had a reason to be paranoid.
"From the intel we got," Ducks offensive coordinator Scott Frost told reporters Monday, "I've never heard of a team going to the lengths they go to to try to get the signals."
ASU, at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Pac-12, has bigger problems than these accusations, but those comments were interesting in that Oregon wasn't alone. A week earlier, Utah had similar suspicions about ASU working hard to steal signals, so the Utes went to a fourth-quarter huddle for privacy.
The Sun Devils play at Washington State this Saturday, and Cougars coach Mike Leach said the league should take a closer look at what ASU is doing.
"I mean, you've got two straight schools with concerns over it, back-to-back, and they have a reputation for it that extends beyond that," Leach said in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. "The conference probably ought to investigate them and see what they're doing, make sure nothing is illegal."
If ASU is just standing on its sideline and being smart enough to decipher the signals from the other sideline, well, that's just part of the game. The question is, are the Devils doing more than that, perhaps using some kind of technology?
Using your own eyeballs is fine. Using audio or video is against the rules.
Arizona State coach Todd Graham fessed up on Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches conference call, but said the Devils aren't doing anything wrong.
"Do we steal signals? Yeah, we do," he said. "Do people steal our signals? Yeah, (they) do.
"Do you see our signs and all the things we do? It's our responsibility to make sure our signals are safe. By rule, you can't video somebody else's signals. You can't record their audio, right? That's it. There's nothing illegal about that."
As for the actual game this week, ASU is fighting toward bowl eligibility against a Washington State team that has been playing well. The Cougars came within a missed 43-yard field goal on the final play of upsetting Stanford last week in Pullman.
The Devils are coming off a painful triple-overtime loss to the Ducks.
"The reality of it is that we've lost two really close games -- one to Utah and one to Oregon -- and those are games that we won the year before," Graham said. "That's what it boils down to every year. You've got to win the close games. We've got to pick ourselves off the ground, go to work."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
--QB Mike Bercovici isn't known as a runner, but he's slippery and can effectively run the zone-read. Defenses need to account for him, as he has three of ASU's four longest TD rushes this season -- a career-long 34-yard run against UCLA, a 19-yard score in the opener against Texas A&M and an 18-yarder last week against Oregon. Bercovici's running this week could help soften a Washington State defensive front that has been playing well.
--LB Salamo Fiso is likely headed to all-conference honors. He is second nationally and leads the conference in tackles for loss, averaging 2.0 per game. The junior, who has at least one tackle for loss in each game this year, entered the season with 16.5 career tackles for loss. He has 16 in 2015.
--FS Kareem Orr, a true freshman, looks like a future star. He started his first game against New Mexico back on Sept. 18 and has settled in nicely, intercepting three passes, including one against USC's Cody Kessler. This week will be a challenge as Orr and ASU face Washington State's Air Raid offense.
SERIES HISTORY: ASU leads Washington State 26-13-2 and has won the past three meetings, including 52-31 last season. The Devils have scored at least 46 points in their three-game winning streak over the Cougars.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Right now, we have to have a team that plays for the person next to them. So it's not about whether we're 8-0 right now or whatever the case may be. It's a case that in 30 years being able to look to the person next to me and telling them I put everything out on that football field for them to win." -- QB Mike Bercovici