HOOVER – There is a change coming to the sidelines this year, and for University of Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran, his unofficial duty just got all that more important.
For Cochran, the get-back coach, his duties of keeping the coaching staff off the field will be intensified this fall. Officials will be more diligent this season to flag coaches who come out onto the field to protest a call or to attempt to talk to an official.
“The coaches, especially the head coaches, they are the face of our game,” SEC Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw said Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “They are iconic in our game. And so officials probably haven’t done as good a job as we should have done in keeping the sideline clear. So we’ve had coaches kind of come-out-on-the-field-in-
“In fact, somebody said to me, you take a lot more off a coach than you ever would with a player. That’s very true. Some of the things we would have flagged a player immediately.”
That won’t be the case this year. Coaches who violate this rule will draw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“If a coach comes out onto the field of play, so in the green grass, and protests an officiating decision, it’s an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct foul,” Shaw said. “The goal is really to change coaching behavior, keep them — and if they stay in the white, if they stay on the boundary, they’ll be given all of the latitude that they’ve gotten over all these years, but if they come out onto the field of play, then it’s going be an unsportsmanlike conduct foul.”