If it's true that what ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, than South Dakota quarterback Josh Vander Maten should have superhuman strength as he gets ready for his junior season in Vermillion.

The Boyden, Iowa native started all 11 games last season for a team that won just one time.  He played behind an offensive line that allowed 21 sacks. For every touchdown pass he threw (7), he threw an interception (7).

But there were plenty of positives in 2012 in the development of the USD quarterback.

He led the team in rushing attempts (138) and touchdowns scored on the ground (6).  He topped the 200-yard passing mark in a trio of games last season.

As he enters his second full season as the Coyotes starter, he knows he more than just a quarterback on this team; he's a leader:

As Vander Maten goes, so do the Coyotes on offense.  In the 406 plays he was involved in last season, Vander Maten ran the ball 138 times for 495 yards (2nd best on the team), while throwing the ball 268 times for 1,662 yards.  That accounts for an average of 196 of his team's 285 years per game in 2012 - a whopping 69% of the USD offensive output.

It's no wonder his head coach, Joe Glenn, looks at Vander Maten as the center of the Coyotes offensive universe:

So with his abilities as a runner and a passer, what exactly do Vander Maten and his coach see as his main role with this team - on the ground or thru the air?

While the offensive line has greatly improved during the off-season, Vander Maten will be dealing with a pair of new running backs in redshirt freshmen Trevor Bouma and Jordan Roberts, both of whom will see considerable playing time because of a season-ending wrist injury to projected starter Jasper Sanders.

At receiver, Vander Maten will be throwing to a familiar face, junior Terrance Terry, who caught 53 passes and 3 touchdowns in 2012.

Gone to graduation though is Will Powell, who had a school record 55 catches last season and is first in career touchdowns (21) and second in career catches (158) at USD.

No one else on this year's roster had more than 11 catches in 2012:

The next chapter in the development of Josh Vander Maten starts Saturday afternoon when the Coyotes host UC Davis.