NORMAN — This time last spring, DeMarco Murray wasn’t working to boost his speed or sharpen his cuts. Instead, he was waiting for his ruptured hamstring tendon to heal.
This time two springs ago, Murray wasn’t working to increase his strength or refine his receiving skills. Instead, he was on crutches, rehabbing from surgery that repaired a dislocated kneecap. But now, for the first spring in three years, Murray isn’t an injured spectator, watching his teammates from the sidelines. Instead, the running back from Las Vegas is healthy, and looking to make significant gains this off-season to go out his season year in style as Oklahoma’s featured back. "To not have to take four or five months off and get back used to taking hits, carrying the ball, making cuts. ... and instead working out and getting stronger and faster will help me,” said Murray, who had the option of turning pro, but decided to return to Norman for his final season, in part because he felt he could improve his draft stock. "I’m feeling good right now just like I did my freshman season.” Injuries have been the obstacle in preventing Murray from reaching his potential his first four years in Norman. His freshman season, in which he rushed for 13 touchdowns while sharing carries, was cut short when he dislocated his kneecap while attempting to recover an onside kick at Texas Tech. The following year, after spending the off months recuperating, Murray started the season slow while re-acclimating to the speed of the game. It wasn’t until the third game of the conference season that Murray finally looked like his old self. Yet again, his season was ended prematurely, after he ruptured his hamstring on the opening kickoff of the Big 12 Championship.