As a freshman last season Wallace was put into the game against South Carolina early on after starting left tackle Jake Vermiglio went down with a leg injury.
"On the first two out of four plays I had penalties," Wallace said. "It's something I'll never forget."
But the redshirt sophomore has come a long way from that first game. Wallace spent last year backing up Vermiglio, starting on two separate occasions while Vermiglio was hurt – the third game of the year against Gardner-Webb and later in the season against Maryland. He also saw action as a reserve during every game at left tackle, but has since moved from left tackle to left guard.
"From last year I've learned so much, just taking everything and breaking it down." Wallace said. "Just learning from my mistakes and looking forward to a good year."
Wallace has been working with the first team at left guard and is hoping to win the starting job for the opening game of the year against Western Carolina. The Pack participated in its third scrimmage of the fall camp on Tuesday evening, going through end-of-game situations. Wallace said he looks forward to the scrimmages as a break from normal practices.
"It's a reward for us," said Wallace. "We get to show what we learned. It helps us to look at film; scrimmages are a lot faster than practice. It helps us get ready for games."
The big sophomore has been focusing on his footwork during the fall camp, an area he realized he needed to improve on after looking at tape from spring practice. He's been working to get into good habits and utilize his positioning to help with balance instead of relying on raw strength.
"Footwork was what I needed to work on [coming into this fall] and it's what I've been working on," Wallace said. "It's important to stay in position – in the run game you need footwork to help you get in the right spot at the right time. Footwork is a big part of technique on the line. The games get so much faster and you have to have the footwork to stay with a defensive lineman."
Wallace credits some of his improvement in that area to the work he did with Vermiglio. Vermiglio, a senior who played as a true freshman in Tom O'Brien's first year as coach, spent a lot of time working with Wallace to try snd make sure he was ready to play when he received his opportunity.
"He's taught me a lot about technique," Wallace said. "But he's leading [the whole line] – breaking us down, picking us up. You name it, he's doing it."
The entire offensive line, which is inexperienced, has been working hard to improve because a lot is expected of NC State's offense in 2010. Wallace said he expects the offense to not lose a beat despite having to replace three starters on the offensive line. Guys like Wallace, Cameron Wentz and Mikel Overgaard are all trying to keep the offense chugging along at the same pace as last year.
"We are all working together and getting into the playbook as much as we can," Wallace said. "We're coming together, we are looking forward to [game day], and I'm ready for it."