Aug 19, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Talk about coming out of nowhere. That's exactly where University of Louisville placekicker John Wallace came from last year.
Coming out of fall camp, the Cardinals didn't know what they had after Chris Philpott graduated. But the Central Hardin High product burst onto the scene and became one of the best kickers in the BIG EAST Conference. Despite not earning all-league honors after going 16-of-21 on field goals, which was the second most in school history, Wallace was likely one of the best kickers in the league.
Heading into his sophomore season, Wallace won't go unnoticed this fall when the Cardinals go to kick the football.
"John Wallace had a great scrimmage on Saturday," special teams coach Kenny Carter said. "He booted three field goals in the scrimmage and yesterday he hit a 50-yarder and a 49 yarder. The 50-yarder would have probably been good from 60 yards."
Wallace demonstrated his accuracy in the first scrimmage, going 3-for-3 and nailing what would have been a career long. He hit a 33-yarder, a 43-yarder, and ended the day with a career-best 50 yard field goal.
A lot of Wallace's success this year could be attributed to his growing confidence from a successful first season.
"It's grown a lot," Wallace said when asked about his confidence. "I've gotten to be more consistent. The experience will help me a lot. The kicks I missed last year were the ones I wasn't confident about. It wasn't my form; it was that I didn't think I was going to make them. I think this year I will go in with a stronger head."
Wallace was outstanding within 40 yards last year, going 14-for-14. However, he struggled from the longer distances, going 2-for-6 from longer than 40 yards. He hit a career long 45-yard field goal in a win over Missouri State, but missed a 57-yard field goal against Cincinnati in the rain.
After another year in the weight room, Wallace feels like he has extended his range. When asked after practice on Monday, Wallace said he felt comfortable trying a field goal of at least 57 or 58 yards.
"We have been working hard in the weight room," Wallace said. "I think I've increased the distance on my field goals by a few yards. We have tried a few deep ones and I've done better than I did last year."
There isn't much that a kicker can improve upon after converting 76 percent of his field goals, but Wallace has found some things he has to get better at if he is going to continue to improve.
"I've been working on getting height on the ball," Wallace said. "I have been just taking a bunch of repetitions. I have been working on my form."
In order to be successful as a kicker, it all starts with the snap and the Cardinals have one of the best in the game in junior Grant Donovan. The Cardinals have been fortunate to stay away from the bad snap and all the credit goes to Donavan, a product of Male High and former walk-on.
Carter feels like Donovan is one of the unsung heroes and a player no one talks about , which means he is doing his job.
"Grant is probably the least appreciated person on our team," Carter said on Monday, "because he gives us something because no one thinks about it until he has a bad one."
Should Donovan and Wallace continue to remain a consistent duo, Wallace will not have a problem earning all-conference honors and each will gain the recognition they warrant.