Alabama player to watch: Jalston Fowler
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ When it comes compliments from University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, one would be hard-pressed to find a better one than what he said about senior fullback Jalston Fowler the other day.
“When I see guys like Jalston Fowler who have matured and progressed here from sort of being a young guy coming in that had a lot of ability but now has matured into a fine young man who has graduated, has goals and aspirations for himself, does things the right way, affects other people in the right way, that’s what makes me believe the process works,” Saban said. “When you have guys that haven’t been in the program that makes some mistakes, do the wrong thing, you get frustrated. But when you see the guys that have been here and gone through it, you see how they’ve matured through the years and what they’ve become, it really makes me feel like, ‘Hey, the process works.’
“He’s really done well. You have to keep fighting the fight with the young ones so they develop the same way. He’s a great example of what we’d love for a lot of our players to develop into.”
The “process,” is Saban’s system for student-athletes, what he refers to for achieving long-term goals through daily effort and focus. It’s something that is never-ending, and is his way of compartmentalizing what’s necessary on a regular basis to eventually meet large-scale objectives and accomplishments.
When told of Saban’s comment, Fowler said: ““I came a long way — going through what I went through, coming from Mobile, you’ve got to grow up. You see a lot of different things growing up in Mobile, and you know you’ve got to make a change. You just can’t be like no ordinary guy coming from Mobile. You’ve got to stand out, doing stuff like this.”
Heading into the fall Fowler is hoping to fulfill his potential have a big final season with the Crimson Tide. After coaches prepared him to be a sort of do-all player for the offense in 2012, Fowler hyperextended his knee and damaged the major ligaments on a hit from behind against Western Kentucky. He redshirted, but last season only had 20 carries for 88 rushing yards and seven receptions for 15 receiving yards – albeit five were goal-line touchdowns.
“Just focused,” he said about the running backs in general. “Last year we were a good group, but we just weren’t focused as much as we were now.”
With the knee no longer an issue Fowler is poised to again to be an every-down option and also line up occasionally as a receiving tight end or running back. He also hopes to catch some more passes this season.
It’s more than a possibility, although the X factors are his playing for his third offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, and the Alabama roster being loaded with playmakers.
“The biggest difference is that you’ve got to learn everything that everybody’s doing on the field,” Fowler said. “So if you play receiver, you play Y, X, Z. You’ve got to learn what the H, the Z receiver’s doing. If you play fullback, you’ve got to learn what the H receiver is doing. It’s just different from anything I’ve been a part of.”