Was Ohio State's prep for Clemson's sign-stealing the difference?

Dan Wetzel, Pete Thamel and SI's Pat Forde take you inside Ohio State's preparation for Clemson's infamous sign-stealing before the 2021 Sugar Bowl on the latest Yahoo Sports College Podcast.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: Pete wrote about it, Pat, you wrote about it. Venable's ability-- I don't call it stealing signals, I think it's picking up on signals. Because if you're going to lay it out there--

PETE THAMEL: Right.

DAN WETZEL: --I don't know if it's really stealing--

PAT FORDE: Yeah.

DAN WETZEL: --but whatever you want to call it. They were totally disorganized. I don't think they were getting signals.

PETE THAMEL: There's enough mystery and intrigue and mythology and aura about the Clemson's signal-stealing that you just don't really know where that ends and Clemson being good at defense begins. You know, you just don't know. But this was one of those games where you looked at and said, OK, Ohio State knows they're stealing the signals. And is ready for it and combats it and then just absolutely barbecue's that defense. And you're like ah, OK, correlation, perhaps.

PAT FORDE: It was like startling like not only how like open that opposing coaches were in talking about the sign-stealing, but they were almost like just really impressed by it mostly. Like they wanted to talk about it nobody. Nobody at Clemson was like, oh, I don't want talk about that. They were like, oh my God, they've got like nine guys with binders over there. Like you should see them.

Like they were like giddy to talk about that. So one of the coaches texted me after the game, and he said that, you know, they used the intermittent tempo because tempo is one of the things that you can combat it with. They obviously huddled some. I can't say they huddled every play, right?

But there were some sugar huddles, which allows me to say my favorite term of 2020, sugar huddle. My guy couldn't tell if they had like a-- if Clemson had any different kind of sideline operation. But there was a former Ohio State GA named Chandler Whitmer, who I actually know because he used to work at the quarterback collective camp every summer. He left to be from the O-line GA at Ohio State to become Clemson's quarterback GA.

That had the Ohio State building pretty rattled. Because like it wasn't like, oh, they know our signals. It was like actually, they know all our signals. Because one of the guys doing the signaling is now there. So there was like a lot of time and energy addressed into that. And from talking to people at Ohio State this week, there was some genuine like animosity towards like, OK, you're going to rank us 11. OK you're going to steal our signs. OK-- like there was just like-- you could write the Ryan Day pre-game speech.