Nevada spring wrap

2010 overall record: 13-1

2010 conference record: 7-1 WAC (co-champs)

Returning starters

Offense 6, defense 7, punter/kicker 1

Top returners

WR Rishard Matthews, LB James-Michael Johnson, LB Brandon Marshall, S Duke Williams

Key losses

QB Colin Kaepernick, RB Vai Taua, DE Dontay Moch, TE Virgil Green

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Taua (1,610 yards, 19 TDs)

Passing: Kaepernick (233-of-359 for 3,022 yards, 21 TDs, 8 INT)

Receiving: Matthews* (875 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles: Johnson* (88)

Sacks: Moch (8.5)

Interceptions: Williams*, Marshall*, Marlon Johnson*, Doyle Miller, Khalid Wooten* (two each)

Spring Answers

1. Lantrip at quarterback. Though coach Chris Ault didn’t anoint Tyler Lantrip the starting quarterback, he said the senior was the player to beat going into fall practice. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering he has spent his entire career backing up Kaepernick.

2. Starting defense is strong. Ault brought Andy Buh in last season to revamp his defense. Now that unit appears to be the strength of the team going into the fall with seven returning starters, including leading tackler Johnson, Williams and Marshall. Let’s not forget tackle Brett Roy, who had eight sacks last season.

3. Matthews looks good. Matthews had a breakout 2010 and, after what he did in the spring, he should be even better in 2011. He provides the perfect go-to player for Lantrip, who is a better passer than he is a runner. Much will be expected of Matthews this season.

Fall Questions

1. Running back rotation. Not much was decided this spring on who would step in for Taua, but there are plenty of candidates: Stefphon Jefferson, Mike Ball, Nike Hale and Lampford Mark (who was out for the spring while recovering from a torn ACL).

2. Defensive end. The Wolf Pack lost two of their best players on the defense in Moch and Ryan Coulson and have not settled on new starters. They took a big hit when Kaelin Burnett broke his pelvis in the spring and was lost for 2011. He was Moch's heir.

3. Leadership. One of the big reasons why Nevada had the best season in school history is because of the leadership from Kaepernick, Taua, Moch, John Bender and the rest of the senior class. The Wolf Pack are going to need players to step up and be leaders in the same way as the guys who just left.