HUNTINGTON - Marshall coaches aren't concerned about the state of the kick return game, but the indefinite suspension of Troy Evans does force adjustments.
The book on Evans was simple: For the most part, he would be the Thundering Herd's main man on kickoff and punt returns, as long as he could be counted on to cleanly catch the ball.
Ball security was an issue - witness his go-ahead touchdown against Alabama-Birmingham last November at Legion Field. He was headed for a rushing touchdown when the ball squirted free, and had to fight through a pile of humanity to recover it in the end zone.
That was one of Evans' team-leading six touchdowns, which also included a 100-yard kickoff return at Southern Mississippi. But now Marshall faces a season without the senior from Oakland, Calif.
"We're fine," coach Doc Holliday said Wednesday. "[Andre] Booker will go back there, I've got great confidence in Booker. I've got confidence in [Tommy] Shuler. We may stick Travon [Van] to return a kick or two; we'll see."
Booker averaged 23.5 yards on 20 kickoff returns last year, with a long of 63. With Holliday in the Ford Field press box at Marshall's 2009 bowl game, Booker blew by the Ohio coverage on a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Jermaine Kelson and Remi Watson, the latter a running back that may be redshirted, also are taking kicks in practice.
Reach Doug Smock 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.