Fowler Hopes To Take Lions By Storm

The big news has been the storm in the North this week. Tropical Storm Lee gave the Southeast, including Tuscaloosa, much needed rain. By the time the storm got to Pennsylvania, it was overly generous, causing massive damages and problems, including transportation and parking problems that affected those going to the nation's top football game.

But North Storm has a different meaning to Alabama tailback Jalston Fowler. In the Crimson Tide's season-opening game against Kent State, Fowler picked up a touchdown with the game's longest play, a 49-yard fourth quarter touchdown. He was Bama's leading rusher in the 48-7 win with four carries for 69 yards.

"They called North Storm," said the 6-1, 246-pound sophomore from Prichard Vigor. "It felt great. I read my blocks. There was a big hole and I just hit it and ran for 49."

Fowler, known as "The Beast," had a 36-yard touchdown run as a true freshman last year against Georgia State.

Fowler came to Alabama with the possibility of playing linebacker. In fact, his first few statistics last year were the tackles he made playing on special teams. But after what he said were "two or three games," Fowler was moved to offense.

Fowler said he likes being on offense, in part because "the defense is complicated. If one person moves, everything changes, so it was pretty hard to learn." The toughest thing about the move to tailback, he said, was "getting my cuts and learning my blocking assignments."

His prep coach, Kerry Stevenson, called him "a tailback in a fullback's body." Fowler, however, is finding some additional work this year as something of a fullback. In short yardage situations, he has been used as the extra backfield blocker. Fowler said he likes that.

"I like to block for Trent and Eddie," he said of his tailback teammates, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy. "I like for them to score touchdowns behind me, a lot of them, hopefully."

He laughed off the notion that he might get a handoff out of that formation. "No," he said, "I'm just going to block."

Fowler likes the backfield trio. "I feel great about it," he said. "Everybody combines different styles. Trent with the speed and power, Eddie with the moves. Me? I just got power."

He doesn't feel he's overlooked. "Everybody knows who I am," he said. "But those guys are great players. I love playing with them."

One area where Fowler may show up is as a pass receiver. Tide Offensive Coordinator Jim McElwain has talked about Fowler's good hands. Fowler concurs.

"I've had great hands since I was a youngster," he said. "I used to play pick-up games and practice all the time with friends."

One day one of those friends concluded that Fowler had "the best hands he had ever seen. That was because I had to dive onto a porch and I still caught the ball."

The porch "had a little ramp," the operative word being "had."

Speaking of hands, there is a YouTube clip of him making a one-handed catch at

This week the Tide takes on Penn State at State College, Pa. Everyone's talking about the weather. Fowler is talking about the Nittany Lions. "It's going to be a tough game," he said. "A good game."

ABC will have Saturday's telecast. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 p.m. central time).

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