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MU football notebook: Kelson's role increases with Evans out

Aug. 31, 2011 @ 12:39 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Enter Jermaine Kelson.

That's what the indefinite suspension to Troy Evans means to the Marshall receiving corps.

Evans was arrested Tuesday in connection to several armed robberies that took place on the 1500 block of Sixth Avenue over the weekend.

The senior's absence from this Sunday's Friends of Coal Bowl with West Virginia means the Thundering Herd is without one of its most dynamic playmakers.

Evans runs the slot and returns kicks. The speedy 5-foot-9, 204-pounder is currently on the Paul Hornung Award watch list following a 2010 season when he caught 21 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned 16 punts for 120 yards and 31 kickoffs for 711 yards and a score.

Kelson, a 5-8, 178-pound Miami, Fla., native, was listed behind Evans on the depth chart when it was released Tuesday.

Kelson, a former high school quarterback, made one catch last season, but had an impressive preseason camp where the football seemed to stick to his fingers.

Bill Legg, Marshall co-offensive cordinator, has witnessed a definite improvement in his game.

"Now, the transition from moving from quarterback to receiver," Legg said last week, "the mental part was probably easier than the physical part of it because you've never played receiver before and all of a sudden, you're playing receiver in (NCAA) Division I-A football where the technicalities of how to run routes is not just run fast and get open. Wish it was.

"But there's proper depths and leans and so on and so forth. And then there's catching the ball when people are really close to you. That's different. That's different than any thing you've ever done. But he has spent a lot of time on catching balls whether it's from a quarterback or from the JUGS machine or what have you.

"And as a result, he's starting to catch the ball like we hoped he would."

TWO-DEEPS RELEASED: "Depth Chart Gate" officially ended Tuesday when game notes were delivered to the media prior to Doc Holliday's press conference in the Big Green room at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Both Marshall and West Virginia have revealed their respected football two-deep rosters for Sunday's 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

Everybody take a deep breath.

"The depth charts have been released," Holliday said, tongue in cheek. "I don't really understand what really the big deal was with the depth charts. Hell, you guys have had it in the paper for the last three weeks."

So finally there is an official shape to this Thundering Herd football team.

Obviously, quarterback was the position with the most intrigue, but other spots drew interest too.

As expected, true freshman Rakeem Cato was listed as the No. 1 signal caller over redshirt sophomore A.J. Graham.

The running back spot drew the "OR." As in, it will be Tron Martinez OR Travon Van who will be taking Mountaineer Field first.

In other words, the two will most likely split carries.

"I think they're both excellent backs," Holliday said. "They're a little bit different. Travon's probably a little bit more elusive than Tron, but I'm excited about having both those guys on our team.

"They'll both play and play a lot."

Martinez and Van's blockers will take on the look of, from left to right tackle, Ryan Tillman, Garrett Scott, Chris Jasperse, John Bruhin and C.J. Wood.

Bruhin, a redshirt senior who's battled a series of injuries in his career, is the wild card here.

His play and his health allowed Holliday to kick Wood over to right tackle, his more natural position.

"That helps," Holliday said. "The important thing is we have our best five guys on the field. Some other guys are going to have to go in there and play. (Josh) Lovell's going to have to play and (Alex) Schooler's going to have to play. Some of those other young guys are going to have to come along and spell those guys a little bit.

"But it's nice to be able to look out there and see those first five guys that we have. I feel pretty good about them."

Other depth chart notables include:

Besides Cato, tight end Eric Frohnapfel is the other true freshman to get the starting nod. Gator Hoskins and Huntington's C.J. Crawford will back him up.

Aaron Dobson, appearing recovered from a nagging hamstring injury, will start at the X receiver spot.

Jeremiah Taylor won the battle for defensive end opposite Vinny Curry.

It will be three seniors at linebacker -- George Carpenter on the strong-side, Tyson Gale in the middle and Kellen Harris on the weak-side.

Justin Haig, not Tyler Warner, will take kickoffs.

COMING 'HOME': For the first time in his career, Holliday will use the visiting locker room at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.

Of course, that means the former WVU player and coach will have to find it first.

"I've never been in that visiting locker room before," Holliday said. "It'll be interesting. But you know what? A locker room is a locker room.

"It'll be different. ... until the ball is kicked off. At that point, it's all about finding a way to win the game. I don't worry about that.

"I can't control it, I'm not going to worry about that. We're just going to do everything we can do possibly to make sure we have the most prepared and most invested team on Sunday."

Andrew Ramspacher is a sports reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him a 304-526-2759 or aramspacher@herald-dispatch.com.




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