Worth the Wait

Mike Wallace can't help but smile these days. Read about it inside

As the Rebels wait for word of their bowl destination, days couldn't be better for the senior. Having not experienced a post-November game in his entire collegiate career, it's hard to question his enthusiasm.

"Last year it seemed liked the season was forever," he said. "This year went by so fast. It seemed like, not to long ago, Coach Nutt was just walking in here. Now we've played a whole season with him. The season flies by when you're winning."

The speedster ranks seventh in the Southeastern Conference for receiving yard per game, as well as third in kick returns. In addition, he sits third in all-purpose yardage, with an average of 130.7 yards.

With such success, the wideout has seen a distinct spike in interest on campus.

"Everybody wants to know about football now," said Wallace. "When we weren't doing to good, people wouldn't ask. Now everybody on campus wants to know about us. They're asking what bowl or which one we want to go to. It's feels real good to see everyone into football right now."

The Rebel offense progressed significantly throughout the regular season.

Contributing heavily in the attack, Wallace and his counterparts ranked fourth in the conference in scoring offense at 30.8 points per outing and averaged 38 per contest in November alone.

The team's conditioning played a vital role in the output, as extra offseason work in Don Decker's strength and conditioning program seemed to pay off.

"We got stronger as a team," he allowed. "Last year, we were pretty strong, but we lost it as the season went on. This year we've had our strength throughout the entire season."

However, the team's transformation took some time. Failing to win a single conference game can be damaging to one's psyche.

As Wallace explained, this year has been drastically different from 2007.

"It's a mental thing," he continued. "We knew we could dominate the people on the other side and that Coach Nutt was going to put us in all the right situations to win the game. Our mindset changed."

What can only be described as a storybook ending, the wide receiver is having a hard time accepting that the ride will soon be over.

"I wish we had a couple of more weeks," Wallace said. "Around this time last year, I wanted the season to end. I was ready to go home. Now, I wish we had a couple more. We're having a lot of fun. The season ended real fast. We're just going to enjoy this last game together."

Still, Wallace is excited about the chance to play in the Capital One, Cotton or Chick-fil-A bowls.

"We want the best bowl possible," he said. "We're in a good situation. No matter what happens, we're going to a good bowl. It doesn't really matter to me. I haven't been to any of them."

As he prepares to embark on a possible career in the NFL, Wallace remains focused on his college swan song in January. But he'll agree, while the wait for bowl eligibility has been a long one, it's has now certainly been worth it.

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