FAYETTEVILLE — Kendal Briles is the University of Arkansas’ offensive coordinator and he knows for his unit to click the offensive line has to open holes for backs and protect the quarterback.
Thus far, he likes the strides that group is making as the Sept. 26 season opener with Georgia nears.
“They’ve done a nice job,” Briles said. “The biggest thing that we’re really stressing this week is physicality and really straining on blocks. We’ve got what I believe is two of the best O-line coaches around with (Sam) Pittman and then Coach (Brad) Davis. Don’t get me wrong, Coach Davis is running the room, but Coach Pittman is always going to have his eye on those guys. And he offers great advice not just to me but to all of us. Just straining with blocks and so, when you have those guys that are working with them they’re always going to progress and get better. We’ve seen them do that.
“I feel really comfortable about Myron Cunningham at our left tackle spot and I think Beaux Limmer is playing really well at our right guard position and (Ricky) Stromberg at center. We’ve just got to settle down in a couple of other areas and I feel we’ll be really good up front.”
Cunningham came to Arkansas from Iowa Central Community College in the Class of 2019. This season, Cunningham has added weight to his body. Briles talked about what Cunningham is doing that has impressed him.
“His consistency,” Briles said. “Consistency, productivity. I’m not saying that he’s been perfect, and neither have I. Neither has anybody else. I like the fact that every single day we know pretty much what we’re going to get at that left tackle position. He’s been able to deliver and deliver and deliver.
“Leading up to fall camp we had a lot of practices as well. Now, they weren’t padded and all of that, but we’ve seen a lot. And Coach Odom has definitely given us a lot on defense that’s making us really have to think, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on our guys up front. So I think Myron and his consistency has what’s been very impressive up to this point.”
Limmer redshirted last season as a true freshman from Tyler (Texas) Lee. He is one of the strongest players on the team. Briles praised him.
“Same thing,” Briles said. “He’s just been consistent. You know what you’re getting out of Beaux every day. Beaux’s really a twitchy kid. He’s got good weight. He’s around 305. But when you see him move, he really plays fast. And then Beaux will strike you, and he’ll finish you. He’s a really tough kid. I’m glad he’s on our team. He’s done a really nice job.
“If you’re a twitchy guy and you’ve got some lead in your butt and you can move some weight, you’re playing right guard, which is what we want. He’s a sharp kid, he’s got a lot of want-to, and he’s got some ability to back it up. I think as young as he is he’s going to have a tremendous career, and hopefully it’ll start on Sept. 26.”
Sophomore Noah Gatlin is one of the candidates for right tackle. He suffered a torn ACL on the first play of preseason practice last fall and missed the season. He redshirted and now is back.
“He looks good,” Briles said. “He’s been on the field a bunch. He’s obviously an extremely big kid and, to me, he looks really healthy right now on the field. The thing about him is he’s going to do everything right to make sure that he does stay healthy all the time. You see him up here and he’s in the training room and taking care of his body. Coach Davis is doing a heck of a job with him and hopefully he’s going to help us.”
The Razorbacks will hold a scrimmage on Friday.