Ben Cochran is on the move again, and this time it appears to be for good.
Cochran, who was at safety for the first three weeks of Air Force’s training camp, has moved to quarterback and will remain there, coach Troy Calhoun said.
Cochran started his Falcons career at quarterback, moved to safety, but filled in last year at quarterback when injuries hit. Cochran had 88 passing yards and a touchdown against BYU.
The move was less about concern at quarterback – though, Calhoun hadn’t yet decided among the freshmen vying for the No. 3 spot behind Tim Jefferson and Connor Dietz – and more about Cochran’s overall value to the team. Calhoun said playing quarterback will give Cochran more time to work on special teams.
“We just felt like what his role needs to be to help our football team is to be a holder, compete for the punter job, be on kickoff return, be on punt block, and be ready to go in at quarterback,” Calhoun said.
Cochran has been mentioned as a possibility for the punting competition, and Calhoun said this could give him a fair shot to work on punting.
“There has to be a good segment of every practice where he works on being a specialist,” Calhoun said. “This allows him to do that.”
Cochran said early in camp that he could play quarterback on no notice if he had to, but he wasn’t expecting to actually be playing quarterback this season.
“It was a pretty big surprise this year,” Cochran said.
“I wasn’t expecting to unless something happened and I had to, but if coach feels this is the best for the team for me to move over and work on some punting and holding and doing the special teams I’m on, that’s what I’m going to do. Whatever needs to be done.”
Cochran did look sharp passing the ball Wednesday. He had a few strong throws, including a long touchdown to wide-open freshman Ike Ariguzo.
The coaching staff also felt comfortable moving Cochran because a couple of backup safeties, P.J. Adeji-Paul and freshman Anthony Wooding, have had good camps.
But special teams will be Cochran’s biggest impact. When asked if Cochran could become a good punter with more practice time, Calhoun replied “absolutely.”
“There have been times he’s been good, he just hasn’t hit a stride in consistency,” Calhoun said. “I’d just like to see, if he has a chance to spend more time and dedicate that way, what he can do.”
Cochran has always been versatile, and maybe that has set him back. The coaching staff figures this is a way to let him focus a little and make a bigger impact.
“With all the meetings and the whole bit, we were pulling him in way too many directions,” Calhoun said.