HUNTINGTON - The first harsh lesson Marshall's Travon Van learned about playing cornerback at the major-college level: You can't play hide-and-seek.
Quarterbacks, especially those smart enough to matriculate at Rice University, will find you.
And if you're a newbie, they will exploit you.
That started from Van's first snap at the position, in the second quarter. Quarterback Taylor McHargue tossed the ball to Sam McGuffie on the left perimeter, right at Van's side.
Let's put it this way: Van did not make his first tackle since prep school, and McGuffie gained 15 yards.
In short, Van got buried.
"That chop block, I wasn't used to that. I was like, 'oh, there it goes.' I was telling [my teammates] in the hotel, 'Yo, I've never gotten chop-blocked before.' They were like, 'Oh, you'll be fine.' It wasn't too bad but I definitely didn't see it coming."
He didn't see the position change coming, either. Well into the week's preparation for Rice, Van was summoned into coach Doc Holliday's office and asked to move across the ball.
Van would go from starting tailback to rookie corner in a Marshall minute. By all accounts, he did not hesitate.
Holliday thought that would be case, and he sees an excellent future for Van.
"I think it's important that all of our kids trust us," Holliday said. "The number one thing is the program is based on truth and trust. They've got to trust us. Vinny Curry trusted us to come back for his senior year and to get his degree. He became conference player of the year and helped his draft status.
"I'm at a point in my tenure here that I hope they all trust us. We are making decisions that are good for the team as a whole, but also good for them as individuals."
Van will run with the corners for his second game against Purdue, at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium. The reason he will do so is simple - the running back position is deep and the cornerback position is not.