Custom imx6 board kernel troubles

Hello all,

First off, I am inexperienced below userland, so please consider that. I have a board with an imx6UL. I've found that when flashing my openWRT image to the eMMC memory there are 4 files that matter: the rootfs.tar.gz (root file system), zImage (kernel - same uImage without a 64 byte header), u-boot (boot loader), SPL (Secondary Program Loader)

if i change out just the rootfs.tar.gz with one built with OpenWRT using any of the imx6 profiles, openWRT starts up and can even use one of the ethernet interfaces properly; however, I cannot seem to access the wireless radio. I also notice here that lsmod produces no output and neither does modprobe. This makes me think there is some disconnect between the kernel and the OS.

At this point I try loading the uImages built with openWRT I find that it get a console in the bootloader. If I just try to boot from here it will just loop and send me back to the bootloader. If I remove the header at the beginning of the uImage it will get past the bootloader and simply say starting kernel...

I should note that just before the starting kernel message it shows that it loads the correct device tree blobs for the board.

I know this is a little vague, but thanks for any help you can give!