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Passing the test
JCSU's Wallace sheds pounds, gains confidence
Published Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:03 am
by Herbert L. White


Statistics can’t measure whether Keahn Wallace is the CIAA’s best quarterback.

Johnson C. Smith quarterback Keahn Wallace has shed weight to improve his mobility for the 2013 season. The sophomore set single-season school records for completion percentage (62.9) and yards (2,280) in 2012.

A championship would.

The Johnson C. Smith sophomore is the league best returning passer after setting school records for completion percentage (62.9) and passing yards in a season (2,280) while tossing 22 touchdowns. But he’s more interested in leading the Golden Bulls to a conference title than statistics.

“I haven’t been able to win a CIAA championship,” he said. “As long as I can do that and get to the D2 playoffs, then I can really say I’m the best one in this league.”

Wallace is in the best physical condition of his career during spring drills. He’s dropped 15 pounds to weigh in at 215 and plans to get to 210 by August when fall practice starts. “I want to get light on my feet, be able to make plays in the open field,” he said. “I just want to help my team out, give them another option.”

Wallace’s mental approach has improved as well through improved study habits and their application it on the field in JCSU’s up-tempo offense.

“He’s showing good signs of turning his step up,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Aycock said. “He’s making better reads, you can tell he’s been in the film room. We’re still trying to get a whole lot out of him with tempo of the game. The offense moves fast and that’s what we’re expressing to him right now – getting the tempo set.”

With eight offensive starters returning, JCSU has the nucleus to improve on last season’s 31.3 points per game clip. To accomplish it, Wallace wants to build chemistry during spring drills, especially with the receiver trio led by CIAA all-rookie pick Fred Scott (47 receptions, 610 yards, six touchdowns).

“I want to be able to put my receivers in position to catch and run,” Wallace said. “(Improve) my drops, make sure I get them the ball where they need it on time and force them to turn their head a little quicker. That’s going to expand our offense that much more.”

Wallace also benefits from a second straight season working with offenisve coordinator Steve Shipp, which provides him  a level of comfort they started to develp in the second half of 2012 when Wallace’s productivity improved with his decision-making.

“The concepts didn’t change,” Aycock said. “The only thing that changed was the tempo of the offense. He’s been doing a pretty decent job so far this spring.”

By applying last year’s lessons to the offseason drills, Wallace is determined to put himself and JCSU in position to compete for a CIAA title in the fall.

“There’s always room for improvement, minus the turnovers and just make sure I become a better leader,” he said. “At the beginning of (last) season, I started off throwing interceptions. In the second half of the season, I eliminated it.”



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