FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — When Myron Cunningham chose Arkansas over Oklahoma and others it was a major recruiting victory.
Cunningham enrolled at Arkansas at midterm and went through spring drills. Now, he’s competing for a starting spot on the offensive line. He is playing both guards and both tackles in an effort to get him in the starting lineup. Chad Morris is high on the junior from Iowa Central Community College.
“Myron’s been working some right guard now,” Morris said. “He has been working, yes, left tackle, but we’ve moved him over a little bit at right guard. Trying to just see how he goes and slowly bring that process over. He did get some reps over there at that right guard position today.”
Is Cunningham’s versatility allowing him to be a factor at four different positions on the offensive line?
“Myron’s really athletic,” Morris said. “I do feel that Myron will eventually be, at some point, I think will be in this rotation, without a doubt. It’s just finding where is that rotation at for him. He’s gotten a lot of reps at left tackle, but Colton’s (Jackson) been doing really well there, as well. Being able to get him to the right side, working some at right tackle and then move him some at right guard, just to kind of see where’s the best fit for him.”
Cunningham was recruited to play left tackle, but with Jackson playing some of the best football of his career that may not happen until next season.
“(Dustin) Fry has been moving around to left guard, right tackle and stuff like that,” Cunningham said.
Would you be comfortable at right tackle or guard?
“Yeah, as of now?” Cunningham said. “Probably not. But, give me a week or two and I’ll probably be good.”
Cunningham knows he may not play left tackle this season, but he’s fine with that.
“I’m just ready to play wherever, wherever I can to get on the field as fast as I can,” Cunningham said.
Linebacker Hayden Henry offered up hefty praise for Cunningham on Saturday.
“Myron is very solid,” Henry said. “If you guys haven’t had a chance to look at him he’s incredibily built, not a lot of fat on him at all. He’s like Hercules with his shirt off.
“He ‘s a tough guy to go against. He’s got very long arms. He’s got a very high ceiling with lots to build on. He’s taking some big steps forward. He’s fun to watch.”
First-team right tackle Dalton Wagner is impressed with how Cunningham is juggling four positions.
“He did a tremendous job today,” Wagner said. “He really stepped up, playing all the different positions, playing with the ones and the twos, especially.
“Myron has been a guy, during camp especially and during spring drills, too, that has really stood out, really stepped up in his position no matter where Coach Fry tells him to go. He is always going there and doing a good job.”
Cunningham was at right guard alongside you at right tackle today?
“He did, yes,” Wagner said. “Really well. For as big as he is, he gets really low and does an excellent job getting underneath blocks and really posting it up for me to come and clear it all out.”
Cunningham’s play hasn’t gone unnoticed by Joe Craddock, the offensive coordinator, either.
“We’ve got to find a spot for him on the field,” Craddock said. “He’s a good player for us, and I think he’s going to be one of our best five when it comes down to it, so we’re going to have to do a great job of finding a place for him to get on the field.”
Cunningham feels the 15 practices he had in the spring definitely helped him get a headstart this fall.
“Yeah, it definitely helped giving me more time to pick up the playbook, get to know the players and who I’m going up against,” Cunningham said.
Many junior college players don’t make the immediate impact it appears that Cunningham is set to make. Are the practices different?
“Oh yeah, it’s way different,” Cunningham said. “Tempo’s faster, the players are better… It’s a lot better though. I’ve been able to adjust and pick it up on the fly. It’s definitely faster.”
Arkansas will open the season three weeks from today at 3 p.m. against Portland State in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.