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Scott Cochran - Alabama
Conversation with Alabama Strength & Conditioning Coach Scott Cochran
(from Ian Rapaport of the Birmingham News)

On August 12, 2008 a reporter from the Birmingham News named Ian Rapaport did a story on Alabama's Strength Coach Scott Cochran.  He must have spent the day with Coach Cochran to learn more about him and his coaching style.  The article wasn't very long, but Rapaport was so impressed with Cochran that he decided to post more of his conversation online the next day.  The conversation is very pertinent to coaching, so we figured our readers would like to hear what he had to say.  Here is some of the conversation they shared:

On how he motivates guys to work: "One of the things I try to create is the atmosphere. That's why I'm a young guy, (Coach Nick Saban) wants an atmosphere where the guys come in, the music's loud, and it's the music they want to listen to. Whether it's the rapper they're listening to, the country star they're listening to, the rock and roll guy they're listening to, we're going to crank it up."


On the reaction of the players to daily workouts: "Not everybody wants to lift every day. Sometimes, there are going to be days where class is just wearing them out, they had a test the night before, they have a social issue with a girlfriend, and they walk in the door, and I gotta be at my high energy just to motivate whoever is not ready to rock and roll. It's whatever it takes, whether it be the music or just a motivational quote. My entire staff is willing to go the extra mile, because they know that it's Coach Saban's plan and a piece to the puzzle."

On how the staff itself gets amped: "We have a lot of lifting groups. So, it's strenuous on the coaches who haven't done it before. So, you're going to have the first group at 7 a.m., and the last group at 5 p.m. you're talking about 12 hours of straight high energy. Sometimes, you have 10 in a group, sometimes, you have 30 in a group. Everyone is going to get my all, and that's something, I have to set. That's coach Saban's standard. We set that tempo and the players are going to feed of it."

On how Cochran works himself into a frenzy: "You're calculating an attitude. As soon as you hit the floor in the morning, I have a schedule at home. I have to do this, this, and this. OK? Once I get in the car, I calculate another attitude. When they come in at 6 a.m., the guys that want to do that extra (work) and get better, I know it's just as hard for them as it was is for me. They may not be leaving their family, they may just be leaving sleep. In their eyes, their most important thing is sleep. And I'm takin' them from that. So, how are they going to react if I'm like (relaxed)? They'll be like, 'What's the deal?' I'm in the car, getting my mind right."

So where does he get those sayings, aside from what he plucks from motivational speakers? "To tell you the truth, the players. I sit with the players. I'll ask our captains, 'OK, what kind of music do you listen to right now? OK, give me a verse, a line, that you'll need when we're running 110s, on the 25th rep, and your body is saying no. What are you going to need at that moment?' And they're going to give me a little line."

On the staff and facilities as a whole: "(Other) people pay 2,000 a month for personal trainers. But we're talking about a guy who has learned Coach Saban's program and is putting it all to work every day. And if you're a D-lineman, (former NFL tackle) Terry Jones is going to work you out. If you're an offensive linemen, (former NFL O-lineman) Willie Carl Martin is going to work you out. It's the biggest weight room in the country. We got all these bells and whistles and there is no stone unturned. And then the coaches that, yeah, they may not be exercise scientists, but I guarantee you they're going to give their best because they see that picture that Coach Saban is trying to get everyone to see."

On whether he can see a difference in the fitness this year from last year: "Guys are all making jumps. We're doing full-body exercises, and they're going to see massive jumps. From a year's time, with the protein intakes, they're learning what to eat, how to eat it, they're learning how to fuel the body, especially when it's competition time. You don't want to be standing on the sidelines because you didn't gain the weight you're supposed to gain or you didn't do what you're supposed to do. You want to be on the sidelines because somebody beat you out. Period. Don't be sitting out for any other reason. These athletes came here to play. They didn't come here to watch. And so they're constantly competing. They want to go to the next level. That's everybody's dream. Not everybody is going to make it, but that part we're always going to work on."

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