Branden Oliver finding his groove in second season with Chargers

SAN DIEGO -- Branden Oliver runs with the same ferocious energy that propelled him to a team-high 582 rushing yards for the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted rookie last season.

It's the only way the second-year pro knows how to play.

"I'm a little more decisive," Oliver said. "I know what to look for earlier. But I'm still getting downhill, and shifty. Some people don't think I'll try to run you over, but I will try and run you over. That's really my mindset."

While Melvin Gordon will serve as San Diego's bell-cow running back and Danny Woodhead will be the guy on third downs, Oliver understands he will get his chance as a change-of-pace back and must make the most of his opportunities.

"Whenever someone else is in there should be no drop-off," Oliver said. "Each and every one of us has the ability to do something great. So it's all good."

At 5-8 and 208 pounds, Oliver remains a cat-quick, bowling-bowl of a running back who's hard to bring down. But he also added another dimension to his repertoire during the offseason -- improved speed.

Oliver said he worked with a speed coach John Opfer back in Buffalo to improve his form and overall explosiveness out in the open field. And the results so far have been good, with several explosive runs during training camp.

"We really work on everything, but speed is like his No. 1 thing," Oliver said. "It's a lot of technical stuff that regular track coaches really don't go over."

And has it helped?

"Definitely," Oliver said. "Growing up, you're just out there playing on the street and you just run. Some people got it, and some people don't. And I was one of those guys that didn't have the form, so it's helped a lot."

Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said Oliver has displayed the same elusiveness he showed as a rookie last season.

"He looks just like he did last year," McCoy said. "He's a pro. He works extremely hard and makes the most of every opportunity he gets. He's a great guy to have on your football team."

Rest day for veterans: After five straight days in full pads, McCoy rested several veteran players like Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle, as the Chargers worked out in jerseys and shorts Friday. McCoy said the scheduled light day gives his players a chance to rest weary legs before Saturday's practice at Qualcomm Stadium, which is free and open to the public. Gates open at noon ET. "It's a good opportunity for a lot of the newer players really to go into the stadium for the first time before we go in there Thursday night for the preseason game," McCoy said. "That's one of the reasons we go down there, and also for the fans, most importantly."

Fluker sees a third day at right guard: Third-year pro D.J. Fluker spent a third day working at right guard with Johnnie Troutman taking another rest day. Joe Barksdale worked at right tackle with the starters. Fluker said he's getting more comfortable inside and that the reps at guard should help his play at other positions along the offensive line.