Clemson’s knack for reading signs on the opposing sidelines was a popular talking point heading into their College Football Playoff showdown against Ohio State last week.
When the Buckeyes emerged with a dominant 49-28 victory, the topic was sort of forgotten.
This week, ESPN college football insider Kirk Herbstreit gave his thoughts on the matter.
“Ryan Day, without saying anything, kind of talked about how Brent Venables is so good at understanding offense and formations and their personnel groupings and waits until the last second,” Herbstreit said.
“Some people interpreted that as ‘he’s stealing signs.’ I think Ryan Day was just saying, ‘listen he’s very good. His guys are all in-tune with him, checking over the the sideline, trying to make sure everyone’s on the same page.’
“Well, he came up with some wrinkles of trying to change his tempo. Sometimes he’d go really fast. Sometimes he would wait and they’d be looking over the sidelines … and then under 10 seconds, call, boom , line of scrimmage fast and snap the ball.”
Sign stealing notwithstanding, Ohio State absolutely demolished Clemson last week. It was the perfect response to Dabo Swinney’s decision rate the Buckeyes No. 11 in the country, and allowed Justin Fields to remind one and all why he was such a respected young talent.
Fields threw for 385 yards and six scores against Clemson, the most any quarterback has managed against Brent Venables’ defenses at Clemson since Joe Burrow lit them up in the National Championship Game last year.
It’s funny how less intimidating the prospect of sign-stealing is when your offense plays well anyway.