FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ first-year offensive line coach Cody Kennedy is one of 59 nominees for the Broyles Award which is given to the nation’s top assistant.
Right tackle Dalton Wagner is elated that Kennedy is getting recognized for the job he is doing.
“Yeah, the O-line is so fired up to see him get nominated for that,” Kennedy said. “He’s a tremendous coach. He puts us in great situations, and he coaches us as hard as he loves us. And he’s had a tremendous impact on us. Even from a building of confidence standpoint. Putting confidence in you in practice, and games and your teammates filled with confidence in you, too. Because when you go out there and you can play confident, you feel like you’re unstoppable. That’s what he’s done to this O-line. He’s made us confident, he’s put belief into the O-line, and I think we’re so excited to play for him. We’re all fired up that he’s nominated for that, and we just hope he wins it.”
The offensive line has been one of the bright spots for this year’s Arkansas team. The Razorbacks have rushed for 2,345 yards so far the most since 2015. Arkansas’ rushing attack ranks second in the SEC and sixth nationally, averaging 233.5 yards per game.
For Kennedy it’s amazing he is being nominated for this award because of his work with the offensive line. He was originally hired to coach the tight ends. But then Brad Davis left for LSU and Sam Pittman shifted Kennedy to the offensive line, which is what he had coached at his other stops. Pittman then hired Dowell Loggains to coach tight ends.
Pittman hired Kennedy from Southern Miss. He had coached at Tulane for two seasons prior to that. Kennedy was a grad assistant at Georgia in 2017 working under Pittman with the offensive line.
A 43-member selection committee of former head coaches, broadcasters, and a committee representing the Football Writers Association of America will select 15 semifinalists and five finalists from the list of nominees and an overall winner.
For Wagner, he’s also glad to just be back playing. He had surgery on his hand earlier in the season, but returned for the Mississippi State game.
“Yeah, it was an experience,” Wagner said. “It was just a finger at the end of the day, but it just kept popping out and wasn’t staying in place, so there’s risk of not being able to use it for the rest of my life, and there’s some things that are a little bigger than football sometimes. Coach Pittman and I talked, and we elected with the doctor pretty much telling us we needed to get the surgery done, and I’d be back after the bye week. With the being back after the bye week is what really made me definitely get that surgery. The ability to still come back and help the team. That’s what I was mostly excited about.”