By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

There has been a shift at all levels of football on how teams signal in their plays. Back in the day coaches would send in a player with the play and now they use everything from images to numbers to hand signals. Every team is different but there is a wide, if not fun, variety of signals to admire.

Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach is an odd cat, a genius to some. 60 Minutes thought so while profiling him back in 2009. He is one of the simplest signal callers in all of football. He doesn’t have some massive play calling sheet like you see with some coaches. He has what looks to be a folded piece of paper and his signals to the QB are done with generally one hand (see 8:44 mark of 60 Minutes video for an example)…and some of them rock!


Other PAC 12 coaches have some interesting signals as well. We have no idea what they mean or if they work but they are sure fun to look at especially those by Arizona State Head Coach Todd Graham.

Sun Devil Hook'em Horns?
Sun Devil Hook’em Horns?

At Arizona there are three people signaling in plays and the players have to know which one to is signaling in the play and which two are decoys.

Can you find the play?
Can you find the play?

Chip Kelly even took way of signaling plays from Oregon to the NFL. He apparently bypasses the coach to QB radio in favor of hand signals. The reason, everyone on the offense looks over for the play not just the QB.

Whatever the play, it didn't spell V-I-C-T-O-R-Y
Whatever the play, it didn’t spell V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

If you watch the BCS Title game you’ll see how Auburn’s Gus Malzhan signals in plays and how quickly they do it. Take notice how much faster Auburn will go when they are on the hash nearest their sideline.

Sideline signals will always vary and look funny to most us. But if they work and help give teams an advantage then we’ll see them for a long, long, time. And they might even get stranger.


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