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Wallace is the next man up

Posted Dec 2, 2013

Cody Wallace is ready to go at center.

Center of attention: Cody Wallace is well aware that as a backup you are always one snap away from starting, and that is the case now that center Fernando Velasco is out for the season. Velasco suffered an ACL injury in the closing minutes of the Steelers loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night, and Wallace is the next man up, ready to start against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday.

“I am ready for it,” said Wallace. “I have been here all year. I have had a chance to learn everything. I will step in and hopefully fill in just as well as Fernando did and won’t miss a beat.”

Velasco has started every game since Maurkice Pouncey was lost for the year in the season-opener against the Titans. Now it’s Wallace’s turn. He has played in just 14 NFL games since being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round in 2008, but he is ready to go.

“It will be my first real NFL start,” said Wallace. “It will be a lot different than the preseason games. I feel good about my conditioning level. I think I will be okay in there. I will be able to identify the fronts and see blitzes coming. There are things you can pick up off guys. You just have to study your film.”

Fast learner: Newly signed center Eric Olsen had plenty to be thankful for this year, getting a call the day after Thanksgiving that the Steelers were signing him.

Olsen, who played in 16 games and started four for the Saints last year, said he is getting a crash course on the Steelers offense and knows position flexibility will be a key.
 
“I was able to get with coach and look at the playbook,” said Olsen. “Any time you go to a new team, especially this late in the season, you have to catch up. Luckily for me football is football and it’s coming along and it’s not an issue.

“I think to make it in the NFL you have to play more than one position. It’s something as a player adds value and it’s something I try to do every day and show the coaches I can do multiple things.”

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