He can run like fewquarterbacks who have ever played the game. He throws a deep ball thatis as pretty as a late summer sunset over Lake Washington. And the realcatch is that he can – catch, that is.
So why wouldn’t the Seahawks unleash the best athlete on their team?
That’s exactly what theydid in Sunday’s shutout victory over the St. Louis Rams, when SenecaWallace was involved in a double dose of razzle dazzle as he lined upat quarterback, threw the ball to the right side to quarterback MattHasselbeck and then picked up 24 yards after getting a return pass fromHasselbeck.
The Seahawks don’t have a name for this double-QB formation, so let’s go with Sene-Cat.
“That’s fine if you want tocall it the Sene-Cat,” Wallace said Wednesday after the team’s firstpractice to prepare for this week’s game against the 49ers in SanFrancisco. “You can refer to it anyway you want. You can give it itsown name.
“Just as long as they keep calling it.”
And why wouldn’t they? Thenew wrinkle to an old wrinkle just gives opponents one more thing toprepare for the week they play the Seahawks.
“Offensively, yourobjective is to make them defend as much of the field as possible,”coach Jim Mora said. “It’s also to put things out on tape that you haveto prepare for.”
In the Sene-Cat, there arevariations that will give Wallace other options when he gets the ballin his hands – whenever and wherever that might be.
“It adds one more layer ofpreparation for the opposing defensive coordinator, to know that wehave the versatility to do something like that,” offensive coordinatorGreg Knapp said. “So I think it’s important to do something like, ifyou have the talent to do it. And we do with Seneca.
“There will be a variety of stuff we do. That’s just the start of it.”
Which also is the beginningof some longer nights of doing what Mora calls “chasing ghosts” forthose opposing defensive coaches.
Mora knows, because he’s been there.
“Us coaches sit in there onTuesdays (when the game plans are prepared), and I use the term‘Chasing ghosts,’ ” Mora said. “You sit in there and you just waste somuch time ‘chasing ghosts’ – thinking what they could do, what theymight do, what they haven’t done and what’s next.
“Then it never happens andyou spent hours chasing those ghosts. That takes away time that couldbe spent preparing for their meat-and-potato stuff. I know as adefensive coach it drives you crazy having to prepare for the Wildcat.It drives you nuts because it’s unconventional.”
The Sene-Cat really isn’tthe Wildcat – at least not the one that the Miami Dolphins made famouslast season. In that formation, quarterback Chad Pennington does lineup as a wide receiver, as Hasselbeck did. But the snap goes to arunning back, who then runs with the ball.
“It’s a great weapon,”Wallace said. “Any time you’ve got two guys who play quarterback andyou can get them on the field at the same time, it’s going to cause thedefense to be on their toes. Because you can do so many things out ofthat personnel. It can be dangerous.”
And, as Knapp said, we’ve only seen the tip of the possibilities in the Sene-Cat.
It was fun for Knapp, too. Even if the enjoyment lasted for only a blink.
“It’s a good feeling, butyou only get about one second to think about it because you’re on tothe next play call,” he said. “But it was neat to see, and the playersthought so too.
“We always tell them, ‘Hey,have fun.’ And their response is, ‘Well, you say it, but do you meanit?’ We do mean it when we show something like that.”
The Seahawks practiced theplay last week, but they players didn’t know it was going to be useduntil Knapp told them in the Saturday night meeting.
“It was fun, and I was kindof waiting for the play,” guard
And how involved will Wallace be in the Sene-Cat this week? That’s for the 49ers to worry about all week.