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Jumbo Package: Big Lots ‘Bama scores PR win at the cost of on-field coaching

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<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Georgia v Auburn

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Bowl Cut done it again, Pawwwl! The Process iz doomed! Biggest loss for Bama aside from Saban hisself, mama!

And, after Scott Cochran left for a chance to take an on-field coaching job at Georgia, there’s a lot of that going around today:

Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss flirted with Cochran earlier this offseason, but Georgia coach Kirby Smart succeeded in hiring him away on Monday. Arguably Alabama’s most important asset beyond Nick Saban himself and Alabama’s passionate boosters, Cochran is leaving the Crimson Tide to coach special teams for the Bulldogs.

Shots fired, and Saban’s storied Process has taken a direct hit. Hiring away Cochran right now, during the middle of Alabama’s winter strength and conditioning program, is nothing short of calculated corporate warfare.

As we wrote yesterday about Deontay Wilder, you can’t blame a man for exercising those ambition muscles or in maximizing his income while he can. If this was about money (and Cochran was “only” the 5th-highest paid SC coach at $600,000), then I’m sure the money could have been found.

But, if this was truly about getting out on the field, and several players indicated that it was a long-standing ambition, then let’s examine this a bit more rationally, shall we.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • When has Nick Saban been unable to pinpoint emergent coaching talent?
  • When has Nick Saban failed to promote talented coaches — if anything, we have seen the reverse: he has rusted some coaches beyond their competence levels. But, generally, after 30 years of doing this, he’s maximized their talent and gotten the right people on the field at the right time and in the right job.
  • If you’re Georgia, what about Scott Cochran’s background justifies your belief that he deserves to be 10% of the on-field coaching staff?
  • In the hyper-competitive SEC landscape, can Georgia afford to lose a tenth of its recruiting staff? Can Cochran sell mama on the Dawgs? Rah-rah may be fine in the weight room, perhaps a little less so at the dining room table. And, since position coaches are the primary point of contact for recruits and players, how do you sell this move to that elite kicker at Alpharetta with NFL ambitions? Or to that 4.3 track kid in Little Rock who can house the ball on punt returns?
  • Can Scott Cochran improve Georgia’s 13th-ranked kicking game? What about its 26th ranked kick return game? Cochran has not so much as broken down a day of game film.

Is it a blow? Sure. His larger-than-life persona and almost cult-like following will be missed. But, make no mistake, the 4th Quarter program is Nick Saban’s. Like other aspects of the program, Cochran has a definite boss and he is implementing the Boss’s plan. Cochran is not freelancing out there, nor is anything that the Tide does original to him.

After almost 20 years together, and with as much turnover as Alabama’s staff has had, if Nick Saban thought Cochran could be an on-field coach, wouldn’t Cochran have already been out there? And certainly, at the latest, wouldn’t Cochran have been out there three years ago when Football expanded to a 10th position coach? That he did not should be telling.

Which, leaves you with this final question: Doesn’t this just all smack of a nepotistic hire at worst, and a PR stunt at best, all operating under the guise that you have wounded your mentor?

Cochran has paid his dues in many ways, but not in this one. I don’t actively wish him ill; I don’t bear any animus for taking what he sees as a better long-term opportunity. But nor does any of this make much sense for Big Lots ‘Bama.

That’s just fine. All I’m saying is that Jaylen Waddle has to be drooling.

For Saban’s part, he doesn’t seem to be too broken up about it.

There are plenty of quality S&C programs out there and plenty of teams to poach — Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, and — most of all — Oregon, where one-time UGA strength coach, ‘Bama native, and Cochran protege Aaron Feld is just waiting there, making half of what Cochran was.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah

Alika Jenner/Getty Images

It’s time for the Meat Market! And, most still have Tua Tagovailoa going 5th to the Dolphins. With three 1st round picks, and their sights set on Tua since 2nd and 26, it is the most monumental Combine in decades for the Fish: will the Tank emerge on the other side of the victory ledger a la the 76ers?

But, that all starts with getting their quarterback of the future.

With many stars not participating — i.e, Baby Hands Burrow and Chase Young — Tua may be the most anticipated player to watch of the entire event. The Fish can’t entirely sit on their hands here and just hope that Tua will be available for them. Almost from the start, the Lions have indicated that everything, including trading Stafford and drafting a QB, is at play.

And, at the very least, the LOINS are going to cash in on the Tua sweepstakes to make some teams pay out the nose trading for that 3rd overall selection.

Speaking of Baby Hands, he’s all butt-hurt that Alabama wanted him to be its third-string QB. Fat Danny Etling shouldn’t be too salty. There was nothing on his CV that justified the belief that he could be anything other than a backup for Tua or Jalen either. And, with Taulia and Tyson coming, Mac Jones in the fold, and Bryce Young at play, that he was even guaranteed a 3rd-string spot seemed generous.

Call me a hater, but I still think Burrow is going to be a serviceable journeyman for several years (and several teams). He’ll be just fine in a short - and - intermediate offense that gives him some skill players on the outside and plenty of chances to check-down. Too bad Kirk Cousins is already locked up in Minnesota.

No. Just...no.

Henry Ruggs.

“Everybody’s talked about who will be the first receiver taken — is it going to be Jeudy or is it going to be CeeDee Lamb? I firmly believe Henry Ruggs is in that discussion,” NFL Network draft analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah said. “I think it’s a three-man race to be the first receiver.”

CeeDee Lamb could be the first off the board, sure. But, despite his speed, and unless Ghost of Al Davis emerges from his fetid tomb, it won’t be Henry Ruggs. Jeudy has done absolutely everything so well from day one, and has made so many quality DBs look stupid with his separation, crisp route-running, willingness to go over the middle, and game speed, that it’s hard to believe it won’t be JJ4.

It was a great week for Alabama Swim and Dive, who claimed a total of nine titles during the SEC Championships, including four on Saturday alone.

Sophomores Kensey McMahon and Rhyan White opened the meet’s final session with titles in the 1,650 freestyle and 200 backstroke, respectively, while freshman Tanesha Lucoe and junior Tyler Sesvold, senior Zane Waddell and sophomores Jonathan Berneburg and Colton Stogner, closed the night and the meet by winning the women’s platform diving and 400 freestyle relay titles, respectively.

Alabama’s men used a big final day to move up into fourth place with 935.5 points, climbing two spots from last year and earning their best finish since also taking fourth in 2017. The Crimson Tide women took seventh place after totaling 748 points, jumping four places from last season and posting their best team finish since also finishing seventh in 2012.

Poll

Scott Cochran’s decision is...

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    The ultimate betrayal! We’re gonna look like a noodle-armed Big 12 team now.
    (42 votes)
  • 32%
    Understandable if you’re Cochran, but just a PR stunt by Kirby that may bite him later.
    (367 votes)
  • 17%
    Just another staffing decision to be made by Nick Saban. The Process rolls on.
    (202 votes)
  • 17%
    Not nearly as consequential as some people make it out to be. The Dynasty ain’t dead.
    (199 votes)
  • 23%
    Some of these
    (273 votes)
  • 3%
    All of these
    (37 votes)
  • 1%
    None of these / Other (below)
    (21 votes)
1141 votes total Vote Now

We’ll be back later with some Points in the Paint, and whatever else comes up. But, for now, discuss who you’d like to see replace Scott Cochran. This is ultimately a business, and business decisions must be made.