Ryan Mathews: “You can’t want to be the star running back, come into camp and not be able to do the conditioning test.”July 18, 2012 – 6:45 am by Steven Cuce
Coming off last year’s lockout, Ryan Mathews took a ton of criticism for an apparent lack of conditioning in the offseason. How did the season turn out for No.24 last year? Mathews simply rushed for 1,091 yards on 222 carries and notched 6 touchdowns on his way to a Pro Bowl appearance.
The former Fresno State running back understood all of the criticism he received in training camp last season and is on a mission this August to prove everyone wrong about his offseason preparation.
Ryan Mathews joined XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego with Chris & Ben to discuss preparing himself for another Pro Bowl season, having a full offseason this year without a lockout, not being bothered by the criticism he received for being out of shape in training camp last season, the Chargers improvements in the offseason and running behind Le’Ron McClain in San Diego’s backfield.
What did you do in the offseason last year to prepare yourself for another Pro Bowl season?
“Expectations are real high. I have basically been training. My trainer Jeff has been putting me through some good workouts and I’ve had excellent OTA’s and a real good mini camp and I am looking forward to this upcoming season. Camp starts Wednesday. I can’t wait. It is going to be real fun.”
Have you noticed a big difference this offseason compared to last offseason with the lockout?
“Huge, huge difference. I’m in way better shape this time than I was last year and I just feel good about myself. I really do. I feel real confident and like I said my trainer Jeff has been helping me on the little things with ball security and working my way through tight spaces and explosion and stuff, so it’s going to be a good deal and it’s going to be real fun.”
Did it bother you that the media said you weren’t in shape in camp last year?
“It’s all about how people see you. You can’t want to be the star running back and come into camp and not be able to do the conditioning test and that was my main thing is how my fans saw me and my team saw me. I don’t want to feel like that again. I had a great offseason and great OTA’s and mini camp, so Im about to blow it away. It is going to be fun.”
What did you think of the moves the Chargers made in the offseason?
“The coaches did a real good job of going out and getting guys to help us out. I think they did a real, real good job of going out and getting guys on defense that are really going to help us out and stop the other team’s offense and getting the ball in my hands and Philip Rivers hands and Robert Meachem’s and Eddie Royal’s and we have a lot of good talent and a lot of explosive guys that are going to help us out too.”
Have you enjoyed working with Le’Ron McClain so far?
“Oh man he is great guy. He real is. He is going to help. He’s an athlete. He’s a big ole athlete and just looking at him you think he is a straight forward guy, but he’s got some feet on him and he can catch the ball. He can play tailback as you guys have seen playing for the Ravens and he’s going to bring a whole lot of intensity and a whole lot of fear to the other teams and other guys. Just him coming downhill is going to open up a lot of holes for me and I can’t wait to strap on the pads and see what he can do. It’s going to be fun.”