Nick Saban: Staffer was not coaching
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- If Tyler Siskey had an impact on No. 1 Alabama shutting out No. 24 Ole Miss 25-0 on Saturday, it was because of the insight he provided during the offseason and not during the actual game, according to Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, who responded to the possibility that his director of player personnel was stealing signs.
He didn't really assist in the game plan, and he wasn't on a headset. He didn't talk to anybody during the game.” -- Alabama coach Nick Saban, on director of player personnel Tyler Siskey's role during Saturday's game
Siskey, who coordinated the Rebels' recruiting efforts in 2012, was spotted in the coaches' booth by TV cameras using binoculars during the game. Ole Miss, which averaged 490 yards and 38 points per game going into the weekend, was held to just 205 yards by Alabama, stopped on a number of third- and fourth-down plays and forced into a safety late in the second half.
"He didn't really assist in the game plan, and he wasn't on a headset," Saban said when asked whether it was common for a noncoaching staff member to assist during a game. "He didn't talk to anybody during the game. I don't know if there's any rule that says he can't go into the press box and watch the games. And he wasn't in any different position than he's ever been in a game."
Rebels coach Hugh Freeze, who hired Siskey as his coordinator of recruiting in 2012, said he had not gone to the SEC to report any wrongdoing, saying simply that he was ready to move on to the challenge of facing Auburn this weekend.
"I don't know where he typically is, but certainly I'll say that Alabama had a wonderful defensive plan for us," Freeze told reporters in Oxford, Miss. "Give them a lot of credit for the work that they put in, in preparing for us, whether it was in the summertime or whether it was just in the week.
"Nick and Kirby [Smart] are two of the best in the business, and not that they need a lot of help in preparing a game plan, but I'm sure Siskey helped in some way. Tyler Siskey is a good man, and I hate that it's been quite the drama."
Saban went on to say that the benefit his team did have with someone like Siskey was studying opponents during the offseason, alluding to how wide receivers coach Billy Napier helped break down his former team Colorado State's tendencies.
But in no way did Saban intimate that Siskey was involved in the coaching of the game, which would be a violation of NCAA bylaw 11.7.2, a rule that sets a limit of one head coach, nine assistants and four graduate assistants who can coach during games.
"If there was an advantage to it, that was it," he said. "It was nothing that happened in the game, and it was really nothing that happened in the game plan. Tyler does a good job for us in the role that he does here in recruiting. That's a full-time job for him, and that's what he does a good job at."
Said Freeze: "I don't think for one minute that Nick would put himself or his program at risk in doing something. I have confidence."