So many folks believe that in order to Vanderbilt to be competitive annually in the rugged SEC, they need to do hire someone with some outside the box ideas to gain an edge.
Well one coach with a rather unconventional path is reportedly preparing to make a case for the opening in Nashville.
Josh Pate of 247 shares that Georgia special teams coordinator Scott Cochran, despite having just one year of experience as an on-the-field assistant, plans on making a hard push for the Vanderbilt job.
Before shocking the college football world last year leaving his post as one of the highest paid strength coaches in the country, Cochran had spent 13 seasons as Nick Saban’s right hand man in Tuscaloosa as the director of strength and conditioning. But over the last few years, Cochran grew more and more motivated to becoming an on-the-field assistant. That type of opportunity got pretty serious when Lane Kiffin took over in Oxford, but ultimately came to fruition when Kirby Smart came calling with a shot a little later in the off season.
Strength coaches are widely considered the single most important hire a new head coach makes because of not only the time they spent around guys in the off season while on-the-field assistants have NCAA limitations, but also because they are considered the key piece of installing the culture that the head coach desires to build within his program.
Could that skill set and background, coupled with a year of working with players on both sides of the ball coordinating special teams transition well into becoming a head coach? Maybe. Special teams coordinator experience helped Ravens head coach John Harbaugh land the head coaching job in Baltimore, and that has worked out pretty well so far.
As we laid out in the look at early candidates for Vanderbilt, there are some impressive names on that list, and athletic director Candace Storey Lee shared the following about what she’s looking for during her presser on the opening:
“I want to be open. I have learned over time, if you come in with a set list, you don’t want to narrow your focus. That said, demonstrated ability to run a program, and experience as a head coach is something I am interested in, but it’s not a dealbreaker.”
Based on those comments, could Lee be open minded enough to give Cochran a shot? It certainly doesn’t seem likely, but it sure seems fun to think about a fired up Cochran roaming the sidelines amped up and giving press conferences in his signature gravely voice.
Eyebrow raising word around a few SEC coaching water coolers…
Scott Cochran plans on making a hard push for the Vanderbilt job.
— Josh Pate 🎙🏈 (@LateKickJosh) December 6, 2020