But he won't make that assumption.
"I feel like this right here is something I've been working for, but I don't think it's something that has been given to me because I'm a senior," McDowell said. "I've just got to go out there and compete, work hard like I have since I've been here."
As a junior in 2012, McDowell finished with 450 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. In the previous two seasons, he totaled 46 carries for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
"I learned a lot sitting behind C.J. Spiller, Jamie Harper, Andre Ellington -- them boys right there -- I learned patience, to be humble and to keep working hard because one day God's going to bless you," McDowell said.
A few days into spring practice, offensive coordinator Chad Morris said McDowell has picked up where he left off on New Year's Eve.
"I thought Hot Rod had a good 2012, especially in the role that he was in behind Andre, and got a lot of production out of Hot Rod," Morris said. "I'm expecting for him to be the guy, and to be the guy that's going to carry the load, along with D.J. [Howard] and Zac [Brooks]. And we've got some good ones coming in."
This spring, Morris said, the plan is to equally split reps among the three backs that are already on campus.
"I would say our goal is to make sure they got a complete evaluation as we come out of spring, to give them a complete opportunity to really show their skills and where they are from a mental standpoint and physical as well," Morris said. "Our goal is to challenge them and push them out of their comfort zone, both physically and mentally."
Morris added, "D.J. is a guy that's really got to come on. I thought his fall last year wasn't nearly as productive as the year before. He's a guy that must come on.
"Zac Brooks is a guy that gained a little bit of weight. We're anticipating big things out of him. He's no longer a freshman. We'll see. They've got to hang on to the football. That's going to be a big emphasis, as it is everyday."
Hot Rod's humble, ready to roll
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