Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran: 'The program changed when...'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday January 09, 2017

Photo credit: Daniel Melograna

Scott Cochran has been Alabama’s head strength coach since Nick Saban arrived in 2007. It was after the second year that Cochran saw the culture change into what the Tide are today.

Alabama’s won four national titles under Saban, but Cochran said it didn’t start until the players set the expectations. Don't forget that Saban went 7-6 in his first year. Yeah, the players got better through recruiting, but Cochran saw the culture start from them in the summer workouts.

“We run in the summer, we do some thing that, if you look scientifically, it makes no sense. It’s just really difficult,” Cochran said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “For this month of June, I’m going to find out what your heart is. We’d do stadium runs early in the morning and then come back in the weight room when you can’t even walk down the stadium because your legs are sinking like a salt-shaker, and you walk in the door and we’re heavy back-squatting.

I feel like the program changed when it went from me telling a player, ‘This is what we do,’ to where I saw Rolando McClain and Julio Jones slap a player and say, ‘No, no, no. This is what we do, and this is why we win. We’re going to do really heavy legs after a whole week of work and right after stadiums, too. So take that 315 off the bar and put another Cadillac on, because we’re going to go 405 for the second set.’ Just the mentality changed.”

The Tide go for No. 5 under Saban tonight at 8 p.m. ET against Clemson. Cochran also worked under Saban at LSU. Head coaches often say the strength coach is their most important hire. They set the tone and set the culture, working with players more than any of the other coaches.

Asked what message he’ll give the Tide, Cochran gave a little peek.

“I kind of had to go back and think about the mentality we used at LSU,” Cochran said. “Coach Saban used Muhammad Ali against Sonny Liston, fighting him a second time. My mentality is there, so you can take that and figure out what I’m going to do with it. That’s how I’m going to turn up the volume.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to