Why Scott Cochran? Georgia’s Kirby Smart explains

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Here are five quick things to know about Scott Cochran.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart was able to clarify Monday that new assistant coach Todd Monken is going to coach quarterbacks in addition to coordinating the Bulldogs’ offense. That was pretty much a given.

What was less clear is exactly how new assistant coach Scott Cochran was going to fit on Smart’s staff. He was hired off of Alabama’s staff, where he was the longtime strength-and-conditioning coordinator for Nick Saban, as Georgia’s special-teams coordinator. But in a conference call with beat reporters Tuesday, Smart was able to get into more detail about Cochran's addition.

First of all, Smart said Cochran is not as inexperienced as an on-field coach as some might think, particularly when it comes to special teams.

“He was always involved (at Alabama) in some way, shape or form with special teams,” Smart said Tuesday. “That’s always been something, even dating back to my days at LSU, that he was kind of the quality-control guy at LSU that worked with special teams. So, his background has been around that.”

Also, Cochran also won’t be alone in coaching Georgia’s special-teams players, which including kicking and punting as well as protection, blocks and returns. Other assistant coaches will be involved. Smart mentioned Glenn Schumann (inside linebackers), Dan Lanning (outside linebackers), Todd Hartley (tight ends), Cortez Hankton (receivers), Dell McGee (running backs) and Charlton Warren (defensive backs) specifically.

“We’ve certainly had a staff full of guys … who have all had special-teams duties in their career,” Smart said. “So this is not like Scott Cochran is the only special-teams guy on our staff. We have an immense amount of knowledge and experience on special teams. They’ll draw on that. Scott will be the special-teams coordinator. But we’ll use the entire staff to help with that, including me.”

But it was neither Cochran’s special-teams experience nor his work as a strength-and-conditioning specialist that ultimately led Smart to hire him away from Alabama. It seemed to be the attributes that fall in the category of intangibles were most alluring to Smart.

“Scott and I have had a relationship for a long time,” said Smart, who worked alongside Cochran for nine years at Alabama. “When I think of good coaches, I think of guys that can relate to players. I’ve always judged a coach by two qualities: What is his ability to make players want to play for him, his relationship, do players want to run through the brick wall for their coach, do they respect their coach, do they want to play for their coach, can he relate to them in a personal way and get them to do something that maybe another coach can’t, does that separate him? And then (secondly) their ability to recruit. And both of those two things in my nine years at Alabama he was outstanding at. …

“So, the big part of hiring Scott was because we felt like he brought a lot to the table in terms of the entire organization.”

Whenever Georgia opens practice for the 2020 football season, it will do so with three different assistant coaches than it ended the 2019 regular season with. Here's how it unfolded:

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