OU's DeMarco Murray to carry heavy load

The Oklahoma Sooners plan to lean heavily on senior running back DeMarco Murray.

Coach Bob Stoops hardly feels it's a gamble to load up on the 6-foot-1 Las Vegas native, who might have been playing in the NFL this season if not for various injuries throughout his career. With Chris Brown gone, Murray is the focal point. He's set a goal for himself of 2,000 rushing yards, a mark Adrian Peterson missed by 75 yards in 2004. Murray has rushed for 2,471 yards in his career.

Murray is also a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. He enters the season with 4,661 all-purpose yards, 1,220 yards away from matching OU's all-time record held by Joe Washington.

"I really believe coming into this year, with his experience, his ability to not only run, but to catch the ball out of the backfield, we really anticipate him having a really big year for us," coach Bob Stoops said during Wednesday's Big 12 Media Days. "We're hoping in th eline of similar to a guy like Adrian Peterson, that kind of opportunity to run the ball or have his hands on the ball that number of times is what we're hoping for."

The biggest test for Murray is staying on the field. A toe injury ruined his freshman season in 2006. Then itwas a dislocated knee cap and the past two seasons he's dealt with hamstring issues, plus a sprained ankle last season. His best season was 2008 when he rushed for 1,002 yards and caught 31 passes for 395 yards.

Last year he gained 705 yards on 171 carries, plus a career-high 41 receptions for 522 yards. He had a combined 12 touchdowns.

"All I can do is go hard every day, practice every day and continue to try to get better," Murray said. "I'm feeling great this year. I have a lot of momentum coming into training camp. I'm looking forward to kicking things off and having a great year."