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Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Spring superlatives: Idaho

By Graham Watson

The 2009 campaign was certainly a season to remember for Idaho. Not only did the team win eight games, including a thrilling Humanitarian Bowl victory over Bowling Green, it surpassed all expectations and began to believe that the Idaho program could regain the form it once had. The Vandals don’t lose much from last year’s squad and have a chance to have yet another special season in 2010.

Here’s a look at the strongest and weakest positions for Idaho this spring:

Strongest position: Wide receiver

Key returners: Senior Daniel Hardy (39 catches, 691 yards, three touchdowns), senior Maurice Shaw (32 catches, 666 yards, six touchdowns), junior Preston Davis (33 catches, 460 yards, one touchdown), senior Eric Greenwood (32 catches, 401 yards, three touchdowns), junior Princeton McCarty (11 catches, 202 yards, two touchdowns)

Key departures: Max Komar (63 catches, 1,052, 11 touchdowns)

The skinny: Idaho returns almost every weapon from a passing offense that ranked 12th in the country. The only loss is Komar, who led the team in receptions and yards, but players such as Hardy, Shaw and Davis came on and will continue to be top targets for starting quarterback Nathan Enderle. Another key contributor could be junior college transfer Armauni Johnson, who had seven catches for 103 yards during the spring game.

Weakest position: Offensive line

Key returners: Junior left tackle Matt Cleveland

Key departures: Left guard Mike Iupati, center Irvin Stevens II, right guard Adam Juratovac, right tackle Bryce Sinclair

The skinny: The offensive line, which was a strength for the Vandals last season, was almost entirely gutted by graduation. Cleveland is the only returning starter, though Tevita Halaholo and Tyrone Novikoff both have experience. All of the backups are back, including Guy Reynolds and Clell Hasenbank, and the Vandals have brought in some new faces such as Sam Tupua, a junior college transfer, Kyle Salm, a grayshirt, and Mike Marboe, an early enrollee. The offensive line was the key to the Vandals' success last season and is really the only area of the team that will be almost entirely new this year.