SAN DIEGO -- Chargers’ running back Ryan Mathews showed glimpses of brilliance in 2010, his rookie season.

Unfortunately, those moments were often followed by spells of misfortune, fumbles and injuries.

As Mathews prepares to start his sophomore season, the 23-year-old believes those struggles are behind him.

“I`m really excited,” Mathews said after a recent training camp practice. “Your first season is always the longest. I just needed that first season to get through it just to feel it out.”

“I`m coming in with guns out firing. It`s going to be fun and fun to watch and me and Mike are going to be back there putting on a show.”

At times in 2010, the Ryan Mathews show received rave reviews.

For instance, in the season finale against the Denver Broncos, Mathews ran for 120 yards and scored three touchdowns.

But, he missed four games with ankle and elbow injuries and had surgery on his wrist after the season in January.

Plus, he fumbled five times, something head coach Norv Turner says he will emphasize this training camp.

“Ball security, that is the number one thing that we have to improve on as a team,” Turner said. “It’s the number one thing that caused us big problems last year.

“Ryan improved every week last year that he played and I think he will continue to do that.”

Mathews took part in the summer workouts organized by Philip Rivers and the quarterback says he believes Mathews could make big strides from his rookie season to his second year.

“You can improve a lot,” Rivers said. “I remember how much more comfortable I was going into year two. He did a nice job this summer. He's doing a nice job out here early in camp.”

Mathews has sat out the last two full-pad practices after experiencing soreness and cramping following the first full-pad practice. In 2010, Mathews split time with Mike Tolbert and ranked second on the team in rushing yards with 678 and third in touchdowns with seven.

Coach Turner said he plans on having Mathews on the field "most of the time" this season and the Chargers first pick from the 2010 draft believes that even without any off-season work with his coaches, he's ready to take on a bigger role.

“I am way more ahead then I thought I was coming into this,” Mathews said. “Basically, I am right where I need to be and I`m just going to keep working hard, studying and keep it in my playbook and we have bigger things this year.”