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#pounditSaturday, September 23, 2023

Rich Rodriguez accuses rival team of spying ahead of opening game

Rich Rodriguez in a suit

Sep 9, 2017; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez high fives fans before the game against the Houston Cougars at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Rodriguez is already causing a stir at his new head coaching position with Jacksonville State.

Rodriguez accused Stephen F. Austin coaches of spying on his team during practices and at the team’s spring game. The former West Virginia and Michigan coach said a Stephen F. Austin staffer had been trying to videotape a recent Jacksonville State practice, and that he ultimately sent a strength coach to chase them off.

“Pretty good sources that they had a couple staff members at our spring game. That’s not really supposed to happen,” Rodriguez said at a press conference Tuesday. “We’re making plans accordingly, so if they’re over there thinking they have our plays or what have you, signals or something like that, we’ve changed things since the spring.

“Then we caught somebody trying to film something the other day. First, my daughter caught him, Raquel saw him. Then we caught him again, saw him peering through there with his camera. I sent the biggest guy in the program, one of our assistant strength coaches. He’s about 6-7, 350, probably benches like a thousand pounds or something. Sent him up the bleachers to run him out, and that guy disappeared pretty quick.”

Stephen F. Austin is Jacksonville State’s Week 0 opponent, with the two teams scheduled to square off Saturday.

Rodriguez doesn’t sound like he’s about to launch a formal complaint based on these claims. Considering how big a deal this has been at the NFL level, that is a bit surprising.

Maybe this is some gamesmanship from Rodriguez. The guy does have an angry streak, after all, so he might have just not been able to stop himself from airing this in a press conference.


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