Dick Harmon: Never underestimate value of BYU, Utah, USU backup QBs
Fowler had 5,092 yards total offense in his high school career and led the league in scoring. He set area records in career yards, career passing yards, career touchdown passes, single-season passing yards, single-season total offense and was only the second person to letter four years in varsity football at Elmira Free Academy.
Fowler also lettered in basketball and track. He was the point guard on a squad that went 70-8 in three years, a school record.
"He knows the game as well as anyone I've seen in 15 years," his coach Dick Senko told me. "This kid can play wide receiver, running back and on defense he is a vicious hitter. I don't think BYU truly realizes his potential or how good he has become," said Senko.
Against Union Endicott, the top team in New York, Fowler destroyed, "shredded their defense" is how Senko put it. Endicott decided to drop nine in coverage against Fowler and Senko told him to take off and run — for 177 yards.
All these years, Fowler has never dwelt on the bitter part of how his college career lived in the shadow of Robbie Bosco, his roommate and best friend, who was recruited the same year to BYU.
At one point Fowler talked to Frank Kush at ASU about transferring so he could start. But it never progressed. Fowler decided to bide his time in case Bosco got injured.
A career reserve?
If it ate him alive like it did his family and friends, he's never let it show.
Fowler was a loyal teammate and believed in the ideal that the team supersedes the individual. He sacrificed and stood on the sidelines while Bosco delivered BYU's only undefeated season, a role he'd had before and knew very well.
But the Fowler story is how college and high school careers go for a majority of athletes — it's just the way it is.
Folks at BYU will tell you Fowler's value was golden on that team. He got his education, and met and married his wife while in Provo. He even lived in the home of Kyle Whittingham's parents, Fred and Nancy.
Did he waste his career as a backup?
Listen to him on TV broadcasts. Weigh his analytical skills on BYUtv or KSL and judge. He is an expert, credible and believable.
Fowler will always be a star in my book, just the way he appeared in this aging manila folder my wife wanted tossed that day.
In a perfect world, Fowler should have been given a chance to start. He never did. It doesn't diminish who he is and what he has become, or what he did for his team.
Never judge a backup role as to be of no significant value.
A backup QB is certainly anything but that.
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