For the last 10 years, Cody Glenn has been a staple on the Benjamin Russell football coaching staff. He was a defensive backs coach for seven seasons then moved to be in charge of the wide receivers for the past three years.
Glenn proved himself so much in his offensive role, Wildcat head coach Kevin Smith has promoted him to offensive coordinator.
“He really understands the offense that we’re running,” Smith said. “Cody’s been one of the guys who really has a sense of urgency as far as learning this system. He’s very good at teaching the details.”
After being a starter for Clay County — now Clay Central — during its state-record 55-game win streak, Glenn is familiar with winning too. He played quarterback and defensive back under Hall of Fame coach and former Wildcat Danny Horn.
It was Horn who brought Glenn into the world of coaching as he offered Glenn a spot on the Benjamin Russell staff during his time with the Wildcats.
Since then, Glenn has built up a good relationship with the players and he’s hoping that’ll help him transition seamlessly into his new role.
“I think that really helps, Glenn said. “All the kids know me and they know what kind of person I am. They know how I coach and they trust me, as far as I know. I think they know they can come to me and ask me anything and they’ll trust me to tell them the right thing.”
A relatively quiet man, Glenn isn’t much of a yeller. Although his players know he can be tough, Glenn also tries to use positive reinforcement as much as possible.
“My coaching style is I’m not a hollerer,” Glenn said. “If I do holler, you probably can barely hear it anyway. My thing is you have to keep in your mind how advanced the kid you’re working with is. If you’re coaching a starter versus a third-stringer, you try to keep that in mind and try to coach everybody hard so everybody will learn.”
That positive reinforcement for the kids Glenn provides is something Smith took notice to and is a reason why he feels Glenn will be a good fit for offensive coordinator.
“He has a very balanced relationship with the kids,” Smith said. “He can push them, but he’s also very good at building up the kids. When he’s on them, you can see they’ll go to the side and he’ll come back and build them up. Something a lot of coaches have to work on is that balance of how far can I push a kid? Then when I do, how do I build that back up? I think we see that in all aspects of life that relationships are so important.”
Not only is Glenn good with his receiving corps, but Smith also noticed the fact Glenn builds good relationships with players across the board.
That’s one thing Glenn will focus on in his new role as well. Although he’s become the offensive coordinator, he knows the importance of studying defenses and he wants to put a priority on that.
“Eventually I want to be a head coach; this is a stepping stone and big jump for me,” Glenn said. “I need to learn to be more of an offensive-minded coach but also keep learning the defenses. Like I tell my receivers, you can’t know what you’re doing if you don’t know what the defense is doing. I want to learn more of what the defense is trying to do so we can find ways to beat it.”
Under Smith, who has been at the helm for two seasons, Benjamin Russell has become more reliant on its passing game. Although Glenn wants to see that continue, he thinks what needs to be a focus this season will be the short yardage game through the air.
“Looking at last year and who we’ve got coming back this year, I want to implement more of a shorter, quick game instead of throwing the ball deep so much,” Glenn said. “I really want to try to get things that work for us and the kids that we have.”
Because Benjamin Russell has had so much turnover at offensive coordinator — Glenn will be the third OC in the last three seasons — Smith is really hoping Glenn can provide that consistency.
“The thing that I wanted to look at and I really thought long and hard about is getting stability,” Smith said. “Cody has shown over this period of time that he wants to learn and that he wants to put the time in. He comes from a championship background. Cody never lost a game as a starter, so he brings that with him and he’s also very loyal. The stability was a big thing.”
Also joining the coaching staff will be another Kevin Smith and Tyler Kelley, who will team up to coach the offensive line. For the last two years, Kelley has been with the Alexander City Middle School team as the offensive coordinator; and the young Wildcats showed quite a bit of success in that area. Smith, who just happens to have the same name as the head coach, has coached multiple positions and was a longtime coach at Handley.
“Handley has had two state championships in the last decade and he was a part of both,” head coach Smith said. “He’s coached on both sides of the ball; he’s not an offensive line specialist but he can coach anything. I really wanted to get an experienced guy that’s been in the fire, and Kevin definitely has that. He’s a good fit.”