As the Michigan Wolverines’ alleged sign-stealing scandal continues to unfold in front of college football fans, former NFL and college head coach Urban Meyer doesn’t think the reasons behind why this is such a big deal have come to light.
After OutKick’s Dan Dakich asked how sign stealing can give one football team a massive advantage over the other, Meyer was appreciative he asked because he knew just how to respond with a few examples.
Meyer started on defense first.
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“There’s a couple things that can change the game. If the defensive line knows it’s pass, that’s a game changer,” Meyer began. “Say for example, it’s a play-action pass, the defensive line, if they know it’s pass, they’ll go right by you because [the offensive line] is expecting the defensive line to play run. So that’s number one. If the defensive line knows run or pass, is that an advantage? It’s a huge advantage.”
Meyer also added that if the defense knows it’s a screen pass, they would react totally different to the offensive line, allowing them to run right through.
On offense, it’s an even bigger advantage.
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“On offense, if the offensive staff knows it’s field pressure, a boundary pressure, or a blitz – just a pressure – that’s a huge difference,” said Meyer, who owns a 187-32 coaching record at the college level between stints with Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. “If they can know it’s Cover 2, they’ll run the ball. If they know it’s some type of pressure or Cover 1, they’re going to pass the ball. So those are huge advantages.”
There is an argument floating around that, just because Michigan may have known what was coming, they still weren’t able to stop their opponent. An example of Ohio State scoring a touchdown despite Michigan knowing it was a pass has been used to back up that argument.
Meyer scoffs at that thinking.
“For someone to say, ‘Eh, that’s not that big a deal’ – if it’s not that big a deal, why’d people work so hard to get your signals?” he questioned.
“If they receive that information illegally against the rules, that’s an unfair advantage. That’s just something that’s unfair competition, which goes back to when you first play sports as a little kid. When someone says that, you can’t really have much more conversation with that person because they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
MICHIGAN’S JIM HARBAUGH AGREES TO SERVE 3-GAME BAN, BIG TEN DROPS SIGN-STEALING INVESTIGATION
Michigan is the No. 3 team in the latest College Football Playoff rankings heading into a crucial matchup against No. 2 Ohio State this weekend to determine who plays in the Big Ten Championship. But the alleged sign-stealing scandal, which centers on former staff member Connor Stalions, has taken centerstage amid an undefeated season for Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines.
Harbaugh won’t be on the sideline for the Ohio State contest either, as he came to an agreement with the Big Ten Conference that he will serve a three-game suspension to stop the investigation into the sign-stealing situation.
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“The Big Ten Conference’s commitment to student-athletes, sportsmanship and the Commissioner’s duty to protect the integrity of competition will never waver. Today’s decision by the University of Michigan to withdraw its legal challenge against the Conference’s November 10th Notice of Disciplinary Action is indicative of the high standards and values that the Conference and the University seek to uphold. The University of Michigan is a valued member of the Big Ten Conference and the Conference will continue to work cooperatively with the University and the NCAA during this process,” the conference said in a statement.