Alabama Football: What the Scott Cochran exits means to the Crimson Tide


Alabama football has lost one of its longest-tenured staff members. What does Scott Cochran’s exit mean and who is next for Saban and the Tide?

Scott Cochran made an abrupt exit from the Alabama football complex on Monday. Chris Lowe later reported the news was announced to the team at a mid-afternoon meeting. It has been rumored Cochran was not given an opportunity to speak to the team before his exit.

Lowe also reported Cochran had wanted to transition to an on-field role with the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban chose to not make such a move. Kirby Smart took advantage of the opportunity and will hire Cochran as a special teams, assistant coach.

Cochran was popular in Tuscaloosa with players and fans. Nick Saban released the following statement.

"We appreciate Scott’s contribution to our organization over the last 13 years. We can’t thank him enough for his service and dedication to our program, and his commitment to our players. He is taking his career in a new direction, and we wish Scott, Cissy and the kids the best."

By any measure, Scott Cochran did a great job for Alabama football. Having been with Nick Saban for 14 seasons (one at LSU), Cochran knew Nick Saban’s expectations for players arguably better than anyone else. His position as Strength and Conditioning Coach gave him more time with players than any Alabama football staff member. His ability to motivate players and his mentoring leadership will be missed.

Other coaches and programs had pursued Cochran during the last few years. That he finally made a move should not surprise anyone. He and Kirby Smart are good friends. It appears it was time for Cochran and the Alabama football program to go in different directions.

Other than Nick Saban, every coach on every football staff in America can be replaced. While the timing is not great, Nick Saban will find a top replacement. A new voice will bring new ideas with different approaches to training and motivating. Given Cochran has never coached special teams, Alabama football may gain more from the change than the Bulldogs.

Scott Cochran did his job well for Nick Saban. He also skillfully capitalized on the Alabama Crimson Tide brand and made a name for himself. The next guy will need time to build relationships with players. Saban will likely act quickly, from a list of names previously prepared. The players will adjust and adapt. Six months until the season is a long interval for bonding.

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Names are being thrown around for Cochran’s replacement. Nobody knows Saban’s plans yet. Among fans, the early front-runner, favorite is Aaron Feld.