Crossland Adjusting To Offense

FAYETTEVILLE -- When Joey Crossland was recruited by the University of Arkansas to play offensive line, there may have been a few eyebrows raised. Not because Crossland doesn't have the skills, but because he had always played defense.

This year, playing for coach Jeff Holt's Russellville Cyclones, Crossland has made the move over to offense. The switch should help the senior linemen get ready for his time as a Razorback (Crossland committed back in June) and is also providing a lift to an already strong Russellville offensive front.

"He's getting better on offense," Holt said. "It's just an unfamiliar position. But he's doing a good job."

Russellville played at No. 9 Fayetteville on Friday and Crossland and his teammates suffered a close 15-14 loss to the Purple Bulldogs. But despite dropping two games in a row, Crossland likes what he sees in this team.

"We've just got a lot of things to work on," Crossland said. "But we're a pretty good team overall. Probably one of the best teams overall since I've been at this school. The intensity level just needs to improve."

Playing right tackle, Crossland -- a 6-foot-6, 304-pound senior -- showed good pass-blocking skills against a tough, attacking Fayetteville defense.

Crossland, who runs a 5.1 in the 40 and was ranked the No. 12 player in the state of Arkansas in the preseason by Rivals.com, has made a couple of unofficial visits to Fayetteville but was not able to attend Saturday's game against Alabama.

"I'm not going to be able to go up there this time (to the Alabama game)," Crossland said. "But I've been up there already and it's been a good experience."

Crossland, who had 46 tackles, four sacks and three caused fumbles and recoveries as a junior on defense, admits the switch over to the offense has been both good and bad up to this point.

"It's been kind of off and on," Crossland said. "Because I've just been learning everything. But as I've been learning everything and going through the weeks, I've got better and (Friday), I think I did pretty good."

While busy taking notes and learning everything he can on the Russellville offense these days, Crossland still has had time to pay attention to Arkansas' nice start.

And he likes what he's seen.

"I watch them as much as I can," Crossland said. "I'm pretty excited about what they've been able to do."

BULLDOGS SLOW DOWN SHELLEY
Fort Smith Southside senior wide receiver Slick Shelley (6-4, 180) was held in check by Springdale on Friday. But don't read anymore into this. The Bulldogs -- ranked No. 2 in the state -- will be stopping plenty of teams this fall.

Shelley -- the 17th-rated wide receiver in the country by The Insiders.com and the No. 22-ranked wide receiver in the country by Rivals.com -- did manage seven catches for 31 yards in the 35-0 loss. In three games, the Rebels' wide out has 27 receptions for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Shelley lists Arkansas among his schools he's considering, along with LSU, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, and Tulsa, all of whom have offered Shelley a scholarship.

ANOTHER BIG NIGHT FOR MCFADDEN
Pulaski Oak Grove running back Darren McFadden, who verbally committed to Arkansas on April 6, ran for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 10 carries in the Hornets' 52-32 win against North Pulaski. The eighth-ranked tailback in the nation by the Insiders.com, McFadden (6-1, 205, 4.4 in 40) has helped lead Oak Grove to a 3-1 start.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories