While observing a little OTA activity, that being the organized team activity that occurred on the field at the Steelers southside practice facility, I got a chance to watch Mike Wallace. No, not the Sixty Minutes Mike Wallace, but the heir to Santonio’s spot Mike Wallace. And what i saw in just a little action in the latest installment of the Underwear League (shorts and helmets) was a little saviness by the young speedster. And i do mean speedster. Do not blink when this cat has it in high gear.
First of all i must admit I didn’t think Byron Leftwich could underthrow Mike Wallace. Byron’s got a cannon hanging off that shoulder. He’s a big dude and he can get his hips around when he’s whipping the pigskin downfield. But there was the Wallace on a “Go” route hyper-speeding it down the sideline, blowing the doors off’a somebody and then having to downshift to wait for the ball from the afore -mentioned Leftwich.
Here’s the cool part. Like a crafty veteran that he’s not, Mike reaches out with his inside hand as the DB converged on the underthrown ball with Mike. As Mike slows down to average speed with the cover guy with no doors left on his carcass, he does two things.
1. Mike repeatedly tapped at the hip (below the average sight line of the follow-the-ball ref’s) instead of pushing at the offending DB’s shoulder and thereby drawing a big flag.
2. Mike kept a “short arm.” That is he never came close to locking out his arm, which is also an obvious Bozo no-no.
Having said all that, the ball was batted away because it was too short. And in all fairness to Byron, he hasn’t had much time to see the human bullet on two feet, Mike Wallace.
But what i like is the attention to the subtle skills of the game that Mike is beginning to display. Just as Craig Urbik has to learn “handfighting” in the trenches, and Ziggy Hood has to learn handfighting to ward off the lobster grabs of the O linemen, so too does “Gone in Sixty Seconds” Mike Wallace.
Shoot, in sixty seconds Mike could get from the Southside to the Northside. In rush hour.