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He got challenged by Will Muschamp, then he passed ‘with flying colors.’

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He got challenged by Will Muschamp, then he passed ‘with flying colors.’

August 06, 2018

It’s not a comfortable position to be in, called out by the head coach, first privately, then in a public setting.

What South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp did was meant to spur running back . The coach wasn’t happy with the way he took care of himself and how that cascaded down to nagging injuries.

Dowdle took it to heart.

“He just challenged me to push harder and keep straining,” Dowdle said. “The other day, he came up to me, he told me I passed his challenges with flying colors, which was good.”

South Carolina running back Rico Dowdle at practice Monday, Aug. 6. 8/6/18

The point of contention centered on hamstring injuries, something Muschamp firmly believes can be controlled with the right approach and treatment.

Dowdle said the team’s hamstring program was a five-tiered progression of exercises and treatments. It involved activating different muscles players don’t usually use.

At the end, he said he feels the best he’s felt since coming to campus, and feels better about where he stands with his coach.

“It’s great, knowing that I’m on the good side with him,” Dowdle said. “That I did what he wanted me to do. Ready to have a great season.”

He’d followed up a promising freshman campaign with a difficult one as a sophomore. He came to school with a groin injury that delayed the start of his season.

Then he ran for 764 yards and six touchdowns in nine games, with 127-, 149- and 226-yards days.

He struggled early in 2017, and then against Tennessee, a broken bone in his leg ended his regular season. He returned to make three big plays in the bowl, then battled hamstring issues in the spring.

He’s now practicing without limits, and he took something from having to watch half a season from the bench.

“Learned to stay humble and have patience,” Dowdle said. “Things happen for a reason.”


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