HUNTINGTON - Marshall coach Doc Holliday said Tuesday he has not given running back-turned-cornerback Travon Van his release from the football program, but there is an indication he has played his last down in a kelly-green uniform.
The question arose in Holliday's weekly press conference Tuesday, a day after Van posted the following on his Twitter account: "To be honest, I got release 2 weeks ago. My mom is real sick, so Marshall is helping me get closer to her."
Told of that on Tuesday, Holliday responded, "Travon's got a mom who's extremely sick. She's got major issues and he's got some issues - he's got some personal issues at home. I have not signed any release, if that's the case. We'll deal with that once the season's over."
Van, a third-year sophomore from San Diego, was moved out of the backfield after the Herd's third game, a 27-24 loss to Ohio. Freshman running backs Remi Watson, Steward Butler and Kevin Grooms were posting better statistics, and the Herd was suddenly thin at cornerback after losing A.J. Leggett (shoulder) for the year and Darryl Roberts (broken ankle) indefinitely.
But Van's transition didn't get off the ground. He played briefly in the next game at Rice, but hasn't played since.
Unannounced beforehand, he did not make the team's Sept. 29 trip to Purdue. After that game, Holliday said, "He's hurt. He's got a deal where he just couldn't play. I don't want to get into what it was."
At his Oct. 16 press conference, Holliday referred to something more long-term: "Travon has an issue, injury-wise, that he cannot practice. He has not been cleared by our doctors for physical contact."
Holliday reiterated that injury status, without further elaboration. Holliday had not, however, referred to any personal issue before Tuesday.
Van rushed for 551 yards and three touchdowns last year, making the Conference USA all-freshman team. He also caught 21 passes for 171 yards, including a critical 24-yard catch and run in overtime of the regular-season finale against East Carolina.
This season, he didn't do as well before the position switch. He rushed for 93 yards on 39 carries, including a 13-for-15 effort against Ohio. He scored two touchdowns and caught eight passes for 72 yards.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him on at twitter.com/dougsmock.