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Branden Oliver Makes Name for Himself

Posted Aug 8, 2014

Undrafted free agent put on a show in preseason opener.

The preseason affords players who have a dream of playing in the NFL a chance to prove their worth.

Every year there are players who make the most of that opportunity. Such was the case with Branden Oliver in the Chargers preseason opener on Thursday night.

“You want to talk about fun to watch, that guy is lightning in a bottle,” Kellen Clemens said.  “He is going to be a good back and I’m glad he is here.”

Few outside San Diego may have known his name heading into the preseason opener, but by the end of the night they surely did.  The unheralded 5-8, 208-pound running back out of Buffalo led all rushers with 64 yards on seven carries.  Oliver averaged a gaudy 9.1 yards per carry, and punctuated his performance with a dynamic 16-yard touchdown run up the middle that showcased his speed and toughness.

“It felt great,” he said.  “It was a play right up the gut and I hit it right up the gut.  The fullback made his and everybody made their block, honestly.  I have got to give all the glory to the guys that were blocking for me, honestly.  I didn’t have to do much, except stay vertical.  The cornerback came at the last second, so it was like two yards before I hit the end zone.  I kept running my feet and I got in the end zone.”

The man making two key blocks on each of Oliver’s big runs was tight end David Johnson.  The free agent acquisition lined up as fullback on the touchdown run, and he too raved about Oliver’s performance.

“He was good,” Johnson said.  “I know he’s a pretty good running back, and I knew that (he was counting on) my blocks.  So I just made a good block for him…It felt good to be back out there and knock some of the rust off, and we did a good job running the ball.  He did a great job.”

While everyone wants to talk about his quick feet and powerful finish, Oliver remains humble, noting he still has a long way to go.

“I just have to keep taking it one day at a time and just keep God first,” he said. “I know I am in the right place.  I have to keep getting better each and every day.  This is just only one game and you can’t get complacent.  So it’s more to come and I’ve got a group of great veterans in the running back room that I’m going to keep learning from.  And Coach Ollie Wilson.  So it’s not the end of it.”

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