Georgia fans widely celebrated Kirby Smart’s ability to steal Scott Cochran away from the Alabama football program this offseason. Cochran’s departure wasn’t also notable considering the timing of the news as he left the Crimson Tide without the leader of its strength staff during a critical juncture of the offseason in Tuscaloosa.

Of course, Nick Saban managed to lure the combo of David Ballou and Dr. Matt Rhea from Indiana to head the strength and conditioning/sports science department of the Alabama football program to replace Cochran — who had been the only head strength and conditioning coach of the Saban era at Alabama until this offseason.

While both assistants are relatively new to their roles in Tuscaloosa, according to quarterback Mac Jones, the two have played a big role in assisting the players in their preparation heading into the start of next week’s training camp.

“They’re very open about their philosophy, you know, involving science and things like that,” Jones said during a Friday Zoom teleconference. “But everything they do in the weight room translates to the field, and every single lift we do, there’s a reason we’re doing it, and they make it very clear why we’re doing that lift.”

One specific comment Jones made was interesting, as some around the Alabama program had begun to take issue with the number of injuries the team suffered in recent seasons under Cochran’s leadership in the weight room.

The way Jones tells it, the new leaders of the strength and development program in Tuscaloosa have brought some much-needed energy to the program.

“And I feel like that just boosts morale and we don’t feel like we’re just going through the motions, we’re getting better every day,” Jones said. “There’s science to prove it. They’ve done a great job leading us, and you know, we love those guys already.

“So, I think everybody on the team would say they feel much better about how the strength and conditioning has evolved if you would say.”

While that comment does not appear to be a shot at Cochran, it also sounds like the longtime strength coach hasn’t been missed this offseason in Tuscaloosa.