Rookie Jacob Hester has brought the physical running style the team expected when it selected the former LSU star in the third round.
"He's that type of player," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "'Let me run into somebody and run tough.'"
In the Chargers' preseason games, Hester has rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 25 rushes.
Chargers coach Norv Turner said when Hester hits the hole, it's no mystery.
"He's got a knack for running the football," Turner said. "He's a good football player and he brings that energy that you want to the football team."
Hester is battling Darren Sproles to play behind LaDainian Tomlinson. But the deeper the team gets into camp, the more obvious it becomes that both will see plenty of action.
Sproles has the shifty moves and can find the edge. Hester, who is 5-11, 225 pounds, can stick his nose up between the guards and delivers the bruising yards.
"It's a good opportunity for me and Darren with L.T. not playing in the preseason," Hester said. "It gives us a chance to get in there against other team's ones on defense and kind of show the team that we'll be able to back up L.T. during the season -- kind of give them confidence to put us in there when L.T. needs a spell.
"This preseason is really important for me and Darren."
The two are seeing extended playing time because Tomlinson doesn't play in the preseason and ex-backup Michael Turner moved on to Atlanta.
Tomlinson is encouraged in what he has seen in Hester -- he's already familiar with Sproles.
Tomlinson said, "Hester, he reminds me a little bit of Michael Turner, just for his power -- being able to run through people. Both of them got very strong lower bodies and can really run through people. He is similar to Michael in that way."
Rivers saw enough of Hester last year at LSU, when Hester was helping it to the BCS national championship.
"Before I even met him, I said, 'He's a football player,'" Rivers said. "That's the kind of guy you want on your side."
Hester smiles when Rivers' comments are relayed to him -- he's heard it many times.
"That means a lot," Hester said. "That's what I think of myself -- just a football player. I'm not too flashy and not this and that. But when it comes down to it, I just love to play football. So that's kind of the mind-set that I have going into the game. Just do as much as I can."
Sproles has seven preseason carries for 10 yards, but he has also been active in the passing and return games.
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