On the Record: With Seneca Wallace

By Chris Williams, Publisher

Seneca Wallace’s presence in Ames is a rarity. It’s been nearly a decade since the legendary Cyclone quarterback attended an Iowa State athletic event. Wallace will be inside of Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday night when the Cyclone men’s basketball team goes head-to-head with…You guessed it. Texas Tech. (If you don’t get it, click on that YouTube video up above).

On Tuesday afternoon, had an opportunity to go one-on-one with Wallace, who is currently in Iowa while visiting in-laws near the Fort Dodge area. Here is a Q&A with Wallace, followed by more notes from our conversation.

CF: Think back to the 2002 Florida State game…We like to call it the “Pylon Game.” Do you think that you scored a touchdown?

SW:Yes I did. I believe I scored. There was a lot of controversy about that game. I know that Bowden over there at Florida State was going for a winning record (Bowden passed Bear Bryant with 324 career wins) that night. I think that it was one of those deals where they weren’t going to let them lose to Iowa State that early in the season, being that highly ranked with those expectations. I think that I scored.

CF: When you look back at your career, will that one sting a little more than the others?

SW:Yeah. It is one of those deals where Iowa State, we were going up against Florida State in the Kickoff Classic. People were really excited about the season and playing in Kansas City against a highly rated team. It was hard to do what we did. Nobody was giving us a shot to win that game. We went in there and battled. We took it down to the last minute and obviously, as I just said, I felt like I scored to put us up. It was a very exciting game to be a part of and I think that the fans will always remember it.

CF: When you were coming out of junior college, what was the thing that put Iowa State a notch above the other opportunities that you had?

SW:Coming out of junior college, there was me and another guy who was a highly rated quarterback. I waited until the last minute to sign. I had a lot of other opportunities from schools in the PAC-10, which I actually got scholarships to coming out of high school. A lot of those schools wanted me to play another position. My brother’s fiancé at the time was actually from Iowa. She told me that it was a great place to play with great fans. After looking around and weighing my options, Iowa State was coming off of a great bowl win against Pitt. It was a great feeling. The quarterback was leaving. A lot of talent was coming back. It was a great fit for me.

CF: You mentioned other schools wanting you to switch positions. I assume that some NFL teams have talked to you about that in your past. Did you ever consider making the switch?

SW:You have to be yourself when you come out of college and not let people influence you to change positions. If you feel that you are positive at what you can do at that position at this level, then you can do it. It is a lot of work. That’s how I got my job. Once you do it for a couple of years, then people start to understand. After eight years of my career, everybody knows that I can play this position. I had to battle that early in my career though. Mike Holmgren drafted me in Seattle and said, ‘you’re a quarterback.’ That’s what he drafted me as and that’s what I’ve been the whole time. It was nice to know a guy who believed in me from the start.

CF: About “The Run” vs. Texas Tech…How often do people ask you about it?

SW:I get it a lot, even in the NFL for a long time. People always remember me for being the guy who had the run against Texas Tech. Even being in Texas, there are a lot of fans in Big 12 country that remember me for that Texas Tech game. It is good to be known for something like that. People will always remember that run that I had.

CF: I’ve got to give a shout out to my good friend and radio co-host here. Have you ever thrown to a guy at any level who had better hands than Jack Whitver?

SW:You know what? I was talking to some people yesterday about Jack and Lane Danielson. Those two guys were very great route runners. They were polished guys with great hands. I’ll always remember the catch that Jack had for me against Texas A&M. We were playing down there and he had a great one-handed catch. He ran it in for a touchdown. Jack had a knack for the football.

CF: Did you hear that he is a senator now?

SW: Yeah, I heard that. That is great. That is huge for somebody who has been out of college for only like 10 years now. I heard that he is doing a lot of great things in Des Moines. He is more of a legend that I am in Iowa.

Wallace to be a free agent for the first time

After playing for seven years in Seattle, Wallace was traded to Cleveland (and reunited with former coach Mike Holmgren) for the 2010 NFL season, where he started four games and threw for 694 yards and four touchdowns.

What’s next for the former Cyclone? Who knows? Wallace sure doesn’t.

“We have the lockout situation and when you add to that that I’ll be a free agent, things really are up in the air,” Wallace said. “I don’t know where I will go. It is my first time to be able to test the market. I’m definitely excited because I don’t know how it is going to go. I do know that I’ll end up somewhere and it is a matter of when and where.”

On McCarney/North Texas

Wallace was especially excited when his former coach Dan McCarney was named the headman at North Texas back in November. Wallace lives in Dallas, which is just 25 minutes from Denton, where the University of North Texas is located.

“They have already upgraded the facilities there,” Wallace said. “It is a good location with a lot of talent out that way. It is a great fit. I think that it could be a very good opportunity for them to grow as a team and put them on the map.”

Wallace was sure to call McCarney the day he took the job.

“He is definitely a guy who likes to motivate,” Wallace said. “He got to win a national championship with those guys at Florida. He can transfer that over to North Texas. I think that is a good fit for him. It is an up and coming program.”