- Longtime Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran is leaving for an on-field position with Kirby Smart at Georgia
- Cochran was Nick Saban’s longest tenured staff member and considered an invaluable part of the program in Tuscaloosa
- Does this addition make Georgia the better bet for a 2021 National Championship?
Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs have pried Scott Cochran away from Alabama. The longtime Crimson Tide strength and conditioning coach is expected to join the Bulldogs as special teams coordinator.
This is a major loss for Alabama, who opened with the third-best 2021 National Championship odds. Georgia is currently listed with the fourth-best odds at +900.
Is this an addition that could make UGA a true contender in 2021?
2021 National Championship Odds
|Team||Odds at BetOnline|
Odds taken Feb. 24th
Cochran to Georgia
13-year Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran has left the program for an on-field role with Georgia. Cochran has been Nick Saban’s longtime right-hand man and has played a very big role in the program’s success.
Cochran was in charge of Alabama’s Fourth Quarter Program, which helps players in the offseason get prepared for the grind of the season.
Scott Cochran, the longtime strength and conditioning coach for @AlabamaFTBL is expected — barring a last-minute change — to leave UA for an on-field coaching position at Georgia per sources. More to come at @tidesports
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) February 24, 2020
UGA head coach Kirby Smart has a long-lasting relationship with Cochran and has been interested in him for quite some time. The two previously worked together at LSU under Saban before reuniting at Alabama in 2007. Smart reportedly tried to hire Cochran when he first became the head coach at Georgia back in December of 2015, but Cochran decided to stay with the Tide. Smart got his man this time around.
The move comes after a 2019 season that saw Georgia go 12-2 and lose to LSU in the SEC Title game. The Bulldogs opened at +750 to win a title in 2021 and recently hired Todd Monken as new offensive coordinator to spice up the offense.
Bulldogs Intriguing Contenders
Even before Smart poached Cochran away from Alabama, Georgia was looking like a solid long shot bet heading into 2021. With former starting QB Jake Fromm off to the NFL, the Bulldogs reached into the transfer portal to land Jamie Newman, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest.
The promising QB went 220-of-361 for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns with 11 interceptions in his final year with the Demon Deacons.
Georgia is also expected to have another strong defense in 2021, so there’s no denying they have the talent to contend. The addition of Cochran is what could help them take that next step. From his hype pregame speeches to his top-notch leadership ability, Cochran developed a great reputation at Alabama and was well-liked by all players.
Even though he hasn’t coached on the field in 13 years, adding someone of this calibre should be a big boost to the Bulldogs program.
How Will Alabama Be Affected?
Nick Saban has proven his ability to handle coaching turnover in the past, but this one will be hard to overcome. Cochran has been with Saban since the head coach first arrived in Tuscaloosa back in 2007 and was a major piece in all six of Saban’s National Titles.
This isn’t the be-all, end-all of Alabama football, but it will likely take a toll behind the scenes in the program. Alabama also needs to replace starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and top wideouts, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III among others this offseason. There’s no doubting Saban’s ability to re-stock the pipeline, but the Crimson Tide certainly aren’t a lock to win the SEC next season.
With LSU losing several significant players from their 2020 National Championship team, the SEC is wide open for a new contender to emerge.
With Alabama already having to replace several key players on the field and now losing one of their most valuable coaching pieces, Georgia a has great chance to emerge in the SEC in 2021.
The Crimson Tide are still a powerhouse and haven’t lost to the Bulldogs since 2007, but UGA is on the rise and has some solid longshot value at +900 with the addition of Cochran. Take advantage while you can.
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