One of the most interesting moves Georgia head coach Kirby Smart made in the offseason was hiring long-time Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran away from Tuscaloosa. While Cochran has never been an on-field coach, Smart gave him the job as Georgia’s special teams coordinator.
The two previously worked together for Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa for a time period before Smart took the job in Athens in 2016. Saban never promoted Cochran to an on-field coaching position and once the opportunity came, Smart hired him. The promotion shows that Smart has a lot of confidence in the two-time National Strength Coach of the Year.
“They haven’t had much of a chance to work with the players,” Smart said of new coaches Cochran and Todd Monken. “You have to remember we haven’t had an opportunity to do much more than walk-through tempo stuff. You can see when guys get in individual drills and they get an opportunity to be with their players, Scott’s energy certainly comes through. He’s an energetic and very demanding coach.”
Smart also explained that Cochran has done a good job in front of the team and the other units.
“I think he’s very comfortable doing that because he was always in front of the team in his past jobs being a strength coach,” Smart added. “He’s done a good job of that. The players respect him, and a lot of them know him through recruiting.”
Cochran was hired in February after the departure of specials team coordinator Scott Fountain, who followed former Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman to Arkansas. He served as the strength and conditioning coach at Alabama for 13 years under Saban, and also spent time with him at LSU as well. Aside from from winning National Strength Coach of the Year twice, Cochran helped Alabama win five national championships during his tenure there. He also helped Saban win one at LSU in 2004.
When asked Cochran, junior offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer echoed Smart’s message about Cochran being really energetic and how his energy goes beyond the playing field, too.
“He’s got energy all day. Forget the practice field. I’m talking about in the hallways he’s energetic,” Salyer said. “He’s got that voice that just cranks you up when you hear it. He does everything full go. He brings a whole new level of spirit to the team. He looks at things a different way. When you can find something wrong with a situation, he’s always going to find the best thing about it. He’s always going to get that extra out of you. That last one percent that you don’t think that you have. He’s always going to get that out of you.
“I’m really excited to go through a season with him, because you saw the impact he had at Alabama as a strength coach. I’m excited to see his impact on our special teams. It’s going to be really exciting to have him on the field.”