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Maryland spring football game
Coach Ralph Friedgen watches Maryland's spring game from the sideline.
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By Steve DeShazo
BY STEVE DeSHAZO
COLLEGE PARK, Md.--The outcome already had been decided in a contest that will soon be forgotten by most. But for Nick Wallace, it was a chance to leave a final impression that could have lasted all summer.
The White team was driving in the final seconds of yesterday's University of Maryland spring football game. And because spring games are whatever the coaches want them to be, Ralph Friedgen offered
It was a chance for Wallace, a Riverbend High School graduate, to get a leg up (so to speak) on fellow sophomore Mike Barbour in their ongoing battle to become the Terrapins' place-kicker in the fall.
And while Wallace's attempt had the distance, it clanged off the left upright.
"It felt good," Wallace said later, "but I think I rushed it a a little. Our operation time--snap, set, hold--is supposed to be 1.2 seconds. I probably should have slowed it down."
The miss won't disqualify Wallace from succeeding the graduated Obi Egekeze; he kicked two short field goals and four extra points in the White team's 34-24 victory, and Barbour missed a 30-yard attempt earlier in the scrimmage.
But the starting job will be determined by more than just one afternoon's work. Said Friedgen afterward: "It's still pretty close. Right now, I'd say Barbour's got a slight edge."
That's because, by most accounts, Barbour has been a bit more consistent over the past five weeks of spring practice.
"Nick's a hard worker, and he's got a strong leg and good mechanics," Maryland special-teams coach Charles Bankins said. "Right now, consistency is what we're working on."
Wallace began his college career at Division II Indiana (Pa.) University, where he was first-team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in 2006. He made 11 of 13 field-goal attempts, including a school-record four against Clarion and an overtime game-winner against Edinboro.
But after being befriended by former Maryland kicker Nick Novak at a camp run by Alexandria resident Paul Woodside, Wallace wanted to kick for the Terps.