Travon Van and Jordan Canada proved to be one of the stronger running-back duos in the Big Sky Conference last year. The only downside, they had to split time. But heading into this season, there's a good chance you'll see both on the field at the same time a little more often.
After transferring from Marshall, Running back, Travon Van made his presence felt in no time, making ankle breaking moves and scoring against Appalachian State, finishing with 6 rushing and one receiving touchdown on the year..
"The quickest way to score, the best way to score is making people miss. If I can take as little contact as possible to get to the end-zone, that's always a good thing," says Van, a senior running back.
His lightning quick cuts and jukes made him a crowd favorite. While he's hopeful to be ready by the season, he is coming off off-season wrist surgery, where they repaired ligaments and added a screw, meaning he's wearing the red no contact jersey for a little longer.
"If you fall down on it, or do something to displace that healing process, now you're looking at another extended period of time, so we've been pretty darn careful as to what he's doing as far as contact or being in a situation where contact could occur," says Griz head coach Mick Delaney.
Even with his cast on, Van made sure to spend the summer getting in shape so he's ready to go by game day.
"I've been doing a lot of leg work, a lot of swimming in the pool. Swimming was pretty hard because I had my cast, after my surgery in May, and I just got my cast off about two weeks ago. Summer was hard, it was a challenge, but we fought through it," says Van.
What makes this fall camp a little more interesting for Van, is the coaches decided to give him reps working with the receivers, and after things have gone well early, it's just another way to get Travon on the field.
"If he got 20 plays at running-back, and Jordan Canada got 20 and one of the other guys got 4-6 or so, now he can get another 10 or 12 reps at receiver. Being the athlete that he is, he could be on the field for 30 or 33 plays a game, where he doesn't have to pass block or get tackled every time, so I think maybe it's a bit of a blessing in disguise," says Delaney.
While Running Back is his first love, he's excited about the chance to line up out wide, in addition to behind the quarterback.
"I get to actually play more. Not just sitting down on the sideline and waiting. Having more plays, and more opportunities to be on the field is always a good thing for any athlete," says Van.
While he's rehabbing from his wrist surgery now, Van missed a couple games last year from lingering injuries, after his intense off-season training, his coaches hope coming into camp in great shape will lead to a healthy full season.
"Like Jordan (Canada) was a year ago, he had been susceptible to some injuries, but he was in such good shape last year that he played all 13 games, and hopefully Travon has worked himself into that situation too, where he can stay healthy," says Delaney.