Latavius Murray improves conditioning, according to trainer


May 26, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) carries the ball at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Latavius Murray was one of the biggest breakout players during the 2014 Oakland Raiders season. Exploding onto the scene in the second half of the season as a potential running back of the future for the franchise. Starting with a Thursday Night Football explosion against the Kansas City Chiefs before finally getting the feature back role fans were wanting him to be given as he showcased the potential that made him a cult favorite before he even showed the league what he could do if given playing time.

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However Murray didn’t get that opportunity until the second half of the season. Many scratching their heads at why the young back wasn’t given opportunities over the aging and fading Maurice Jones-Drew before Murray eventually saw the field under interim head coach Tony Sparano. A long time coming for a player who missed his rookie season on the IR with an ankle injury that required surgery.

That ankle injury may have led to Murray having to work his way onto the roster last season as according to a recent interview with his trainer the running back’s conditioning going into 2015 Training Camp is vastly improved to that of last season. Complications of the ankle injury gone this summer allowing Murray to work on his athleticism harder than in the lead up to the 2014 season.

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Murray spent his summer working with childhood friend Vinny Scollo who is now a trainer in Central New York, Scollo telling local media in Syracuse that the Raiders running back is now more explosive and better conditioned than at this time in 2014 when he was still recovering from ankle surgery that set him down just months after being drafted in the late rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft by Oakland.

“The biggest improvement has been in his explosiveness and his conditioning,” Scollo told Donna Ditota of “This year, he’s a lot more conditioned at this point than he was last year because we really had to taper the workouts and work around his injury. This year, his conditioning, his wind, is 100 percent there. And his explosiveness. He’s moving everything that much faster.”

It is exciting for the Raiders that Murray will be better conditioned and prepared than at the beginning of 2014 after getting a full offseason of building on his athleticism rather than recovering from a serious ankle injury. Expected to shoulder the load in the ground game from Week 1 to Week 17 if healthy, that conditioning will be needed if offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans on giving Murray the majority of the carries. Musgrave being a noted run-first playcaller, Murray is set for a breakout season if healthy, and that conditioning work put in with his lifelong fried could be the key for success for a player who has high expectations entering his third year with the Raiders as the presumed #1 RB on the depth chart this season.