CRAWFORD | Wakeyleaks? Wake Forest says "breach" may have left g - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Wakeyleaks? Wake Forest says "breach" may have left game plan details in Louisville's hands

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AP photo. AP photo.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In the shadowy, clandestine world of college football, coaches generally suspect a conspiracy around every corner with paranoia on every play. These guys won't even talk on the sidelines without covering their mouths. Stories of schemes abound, but you rarely hear of one actually reaching the light of day.

That's what's so bizarre about the reported "security breach," Wake Forest is investigating surrounding its loss at Louisville last weekend.

But first things first. Credit Sam Walker, News Director of MAX Radio of the Carolinas and a writer for OuterBanksVoice.com for giving the controversy its own hashtag -- because what controversy is worth its weight in speculation without a hashtag?

Call it WakeyLeaks.

As scandals go, at least this one is G-rated. The movie trailer would hardly inspire: A 34 1/2-point favorite with the nation's top-ranked offense and No. 6-ranked defense, looking for College Football Playoff inclusion and "style points," swipes some potential new plays of the nation's No. 123 offense in the hope of finding the postseason promised land. But they didn't count on some unnamed traveling party member finding the documents and blowing the whole thing up. Well, for three quarters, anyway.

I don't know. The plot kind of falls apart at that point. Let's call it a first draft. We're a little short on detail.

What we know: Wake Forest football coach Dave Clawson says that a member of the school's football traveling party last Friday found what school athletic director Ron Wellman called "a number of documents pertaining to our Louisville game plan." Another report, from Dan Wolken of USA Today, suggests that the documents may have indicated that Louisville had been preparing for plays Wake Forest had not run before.

Clawson told Wolken that, "There somehow was a breach. I shared it with our AD, and we are trying to figure out what happened and how it happened. ... I'll just leave it alone at that comment, and we are trying to figure out what happened and how it happened and looking at things internally first to find out how information could have gotten out of our office. I'll leave it at that."

He stopped short of outright accusing Louisville coaches or other staff of unethical behavior, and emphasized that the investigation was focusing on who inside the Wake Forest program might've been leaking game-plan material. But Wellman said that he had notified both Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and ACC commissioner John Swofford of the school's concerns.

"We're trying to figure out what happened, trying to figure out how the information got out of our office and our place," Clawson told USA Today. "That's where we are with it now. We're trying to figure out how a breach happened, and we're doing everything we can internally to make sure that all of our information that pertains to us stays in-house."

So far, the only response from U of L has been from coach Bobby Petrino, who is en route to Houston for the No. 5-ranked Cardinals nationally televised matchup with Houston on Thursday night, a matchup that likely now has a new storyline for an ESPN audience.

"I have no knowledge of the situation," Petrino said in the statement. "We take a lot of pride in the way we operate our program. As I've stated already this season, my coaching philosophy has always been to play the game with sportsmanship. Right now, our focus is on our game tomorrow at Houston and finishing the 2016 season strong."

Officials from the ACC have yet to respond to a question over the investigation, or even to confirm whether the league would take any role in it.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was on his way to Houston with the team and was not available for immediate comment.

It's hard to see from the flow of Saturday's game whether Louisville gained any advantage from any kind of information it might have had. Clawson did not say whether Wake Forest altered its game plan in any significant way after learning of the possible breach on Friday.

Whatever the case, the game began badly for the Cardinals. Three first-half turnovers left Wake Forest up 12-3 at the half, the first this season in which Louisville has failed to score a touchdown. It was the fifth-most first-half points for the Deacons in a game this season.The Cardinals were on upset alert heading into the fourth quarter, trailing 12-10, before scoring 34 points to pull away, 44-12.

Such episodes have come under more scrutiny since the high-profile cases of the New England Patriots' "Spygate," in which the team was punished for videotaping opposing defensive coaches from an unauthorized position. The Patriots and coach Bill Belichick also were accused of taping opponent walk-through and practice sessions. "Deflategate," also involving the Patriots, was the most recent controversy to envelop the NFL, and resulted in a four-game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady for using under-inflated game balls.

But this is unusual in that it has played out in public, and not between the coaching staffs or the schools involved.

None of this is to say that nothing untoward happened. At this point, we just don't know. Maybe it did; maybe it didn't. It's hard to imagine Wake Forest making a public issue of it without having some tangible proof of questionable action. But Wellman said he doesn't know of a timetable for his school's investigation.

“No idea,’’ Wellman told The Winston-Salem Journal. “We just have to develop a process and follow the process. How long that will take remains to be seen. But it will not be in the next day or two for sure. It may be weeks before we have an outcome to this.’’

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