Finally healthy? South Carolina RB Rico Dowdle feels 'the best since I've been here'
August 06, 2018
Coming off of three surgeries in two years, much of the success of the South Carolina offense will come down to Rico Dowdle’s health, and he knows it.
Dowdle on Monday expounded on preparation throughout the summer by way of an exercise program focused on stretching and other exercises that activate muscles that are used regularly. He worked through a tiered system to get stronger.
“I feel, honestly, the best since I’ve been here,” Dowdle said in a meeting with the media, according to audio posted by SportsTalkSC.com. He added that he’s not limited in practice.
Dowdle suffered a broken leg and missed five games last season, but returned for the bowl game against Michigan, which was somewhat of a surprise because of a hamstring injury. Overall last season, he had 251 yards on 66 carries and two touchdowns.
Dowdle admitted that he sat back and wondered ‘why me’ after a slew of injuries that began with a groin problem two seasons ago that followed sports hernia surgery. He said faith helps him get through the persistent injuries.
“Everything happens for a reason, and it all just works out for the best,” he said, and added that getting himself healthy while adding speed were two of his offseason goals.
As Dowdle looks contribute in a crowded backfield that doesn’t have an established feature back, the offensive shift is expected to mean a play would be run every seven seconds, and Dowdle added a goal for the running backs is to register 5.5 yards per carry.
Dowdle deflected questions about him being the team’s best running back, and instead said they focused on making each other better. He’s not concerned with starting because all of the running backs will split carries.
Dowdle recalled a conversation with coach Will Muschamp, who in late spring challenged Dowdle to push harder and “keep straining.”
“The other day he came up to me and said I passed his challenges with flying colors,” Dowdle said. “It was great, knowing that I’m on the good side with him and that I did what he wanted me to do and ready to have a great season.”