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fordfixer
10-27-2009, 02:04 AM
Wallace jumps at opportunity

By: Mike Bires -
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... unity.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2009/october/27/wallace-jumps-at-opportunity.html)
Tuesday October 27, 2009 12:13 AM

PITTSBURGH — With the greatest of ease, Mike Wallace celebrated his second pro touchdown with a leap of faith.

His acrobatic somersault into the end zone Sunday is further proof that he is indeed a special rookie.

After catching a 40-yard TD pass in the Steelers’ 27-17 win over Minnesota, Wallace didn’t spike the ball or break into a dance. He just flipped head-first as he neared the goal line.

“It was about an 8 on a scale (of 1 to 10),” said the speedy wide receiver taken in the third round of this year’s draft. “I have to get more elevation and execution.”

So far this season, Wallace’s execution on the field of play has been quite promising to say the least.

Before Wallace was taken with the 84th overall pick of the draft, 10 wide receivers were taken ahead of him (including six in the first round). But after Week 7 of the season, only one of those (Minnesota’s Percy Harvin, 23) 10 has more catches.

Tight end Heath Miller leads the Steelers with four TDs. Wallace and 12-year veteran Hines Ward each have two each while Santonio Holmes only has one.

Wallace also leads the team with a 17.5 yards per catch average.

“I’m fresh out of college, so I’m happy with whatever I can get,” he said. “I just want to win. I’m trying to block and run routes, do anything. I’ll even be a decoy. But if they come to me, I’ll be ready.”

Already, Wallace has gained the trust of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Wallace is earning that trust because he’s capable of hanging on to the football. Except for a dropped pass two weeks ago in Detroit that would have gone for a 71-yard TD, Wallace is catching balls thrown in his direction.

Wallace has also benefited from the fact most opposing defenses are preoccupied with stopping Ward and Holmes.

“Everyone wants to double team Hines and ’Tone, so it leaves me kind of free at times,” Wallace said. “I’ll take whatever scraps I can get.”

As the Steelers enter their bye week, Wallace has been one of the team’s most refreshing success stories this season. And as he showed with his acrobatics Sunday, he can be entertaining once he reaches the end zone.

Wallace doesn’t know when he’ll get another chance to somersault into the end zone. He even said his flip Sunday wasn’t planned. But he didn’t rule out future acrobatics.

“It was alright,” he said. “I have to practice it a few times and get the execution down.”