When Scott Cochran was the strength and conditioning coordinator at Alabama, his players excelled on the field as many of them went on to the next level.Cochran got a chance to work with Nick Saban, one of college football’s greatest, for over a decade. He was at the top of the mountain and was apart of one of the greatest dynasties in the sport’s history; which won five national titles since he arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007.
Although, as the years passed, he wanted a role that involved being an on-field coach. Cochran wanted to be able to go out and recruit players on the road. As a graduate assistant, he wanted to be position coach before he chose a different career path within the sport.
Finally, he just wanted a change of scenery from he’d been doing.
“I’ve always wanted to coach, and I found the best opportunity; coach [Kirby] Smart gave it to me. And I had to jump on it,” Cochran told reporters during a Zoom session Friday afternoon.
When Cochran was hired to be the specials teams coach at Georgia, many talked about how it would affect Alabama.
Smart’s initial statement read:
“Ask anyone who’s been around him, Scott’s passion and energy is contagious,” Smart said. “Special Teams Coordinator is a great fit as he’ll be working with all position groups. His knowledge and experience elevates our entire program, and we’re excited to welcome the Cochran family to Athens.”
Now, out of his comfort zone, Cochran seems ready to take on the challenge.
“I would say it’s been challenging, for sure, and that’s kind of what I was looking for,” Cochran said. “When I first got into coaching, it was high school level, and I kind of fell in love with the special teams. And strength and conditioning came with it. So when I had the opportunity to strength or special teams when I was a GA I went with the strength side. So now I wanted to transition into special teams.”
He’s now doing something that he hasn’t ever done before and he left a job where he was one of the most highly regarded at his position. Cochran seems to have put faith in himself and rolled the dice.
“It’s one of those things. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to get back on the field, to see this side of it and to work this side,” Cochran said. “I had the opportunity. C’mon, Coach Smart is the best one to do it, so let’s go.”
The reason he’s at UGA is because of Smart. The fifth-year head coach gave him the opportunity because Alabama didn’t have an opening for him. He admitted that there’s no animosity towards Saban, and that’s he blessed because of the time he spent at Alabama. But he also pointed out that his connection with Smart has helped him take the next step in his career path. Smart and Cochran worked together at Alabama for nine years and one at LSU.
Both coaches will get the chance to return to Tuscaloosa for the first time since leaving Alabama on Oct. 17. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide are set to play in primetime at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 8ET on CBS.
“I think everything happens for a reason,” said Cochran. ” Timing is everything and, at the time, I felt like I was in a good place. Now, I feel like I’m in a great place! I think timing has everything to do with it and, for me, right now is the time. I’m just excited about [this] opportunity.”