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Raiders want to see more carries from Murray

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — Oakland Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano said he understands what all the fuss is about regarding running back Latavius Murray.

“I’ve seen eight carries,” Sparano said. “I want to see more of them. I’m curious, too. I’m curious just like the fans are curious.”

Actually, Sparano has seen 14 carries for 166 yards from Murray. However, it is the past eight attempts that brought about the intrigue as the Raiders prepare to host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in a cross-bay rivalry game.

Murray had four attempts for 43 yards in a 13-6 loss to the San Diego Chargers, including back-to-back rushing first downs that were the team’s only two rushing first downs of the game.

Then in the Raiders’ lone win of the season, 24-20 over the Kansas City Chiefs, Murray keyed a season-best 176-yard rushing day for the NFL’s 32nd-ranked rushing attack with 112 yards on four carries. Murray, 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, had touchdown runs of 11 and 89 yards, the first two ground scores allowed by the Chiefs all season.

On his fourth and final carry, Murray was hit by Chiefs safety Kurt Coleman and knocked out with a concussion in the second quarter. He didn’t pass the NFL concussion protocol until the Monday after the Raiders’ 52-0 road loss to the St. Louis Rams, so he watched the game on television at home.

Murray will get additional work this season, and the fans hope it is a lot, having seen running backs Darren McFadden (3.3 yards per carry) and Maurice Jones-Drew (2.1 yards per carry) struggle to find running room all season.

“I feel real good,” Murray said after returning to practice Wednesday. “It feels good to be back out there. I’m excited for this week and the opportunity we have.”

Murray remains diplomatic considering the veteran status of McFadden and Jones-Drew, but he is looking forward to building off the success of his previous two games.

“I’m ready to show I can handle a workload of carries,” Murray said. “It’s no pressure for me at all. I know what I’m capable of. However many carries I get or however many plays I get, I just have to go out there and be effective.”

A sixth-round draft pick, Murray spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a foot injury. As he became acclimated to the NFL, his practice progress was gradual but unremarkable. While fans wonder why it took so long to get Murray some work, Sparano believes Murray needed to earn the time.

“The kid has come along, come along, come along, not different than a lot of our younger players,” Sparano said. “All of a sudden, he’s gotten his opportunity. Obviously, if I had seen that it was much better earlier, the decision would have been made earlier.

“If all goes according to script this week, he’ll get his turns and he’ll get a chance to run the ball, and hopefully we’ll see more of that.”

Quarterback Derek Carr looks forward to it.

“I know it’s only a couple of carries here, a couple of catches, but you can’t take it away from him,” Carr said. “The guy went out and did it. I’ll be excited to see what he can do with more touches. Hopefully it’s more 90-yard runs.”

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