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Weekly senior spotlight feature was written by Connor Wagner for CUWFalcons.com

MEQUON -- In the game of football, there are only two positions on the field that touch the ball every offensive possession. The first, as you might have guessed, is the quarterback. The second is the center. While the two may share the ball each play, the positions couldn't be more different.

"I don't think anyone really grows up wanting to play center," senior Ben Bednarek stated. "Had you asked me a few years ago what I thought about playing center, I probably would've just looked at you like you were insane."

Bednarek, who began his football career for the Falcons at linebacker, now lines up on the opposite side of the football, protecting the quarterback he once was trying to tackle. "Transitioning over from defense to offense was somewhat rough for me at first, but after a little while, I felt like I had been there from the beginning," said the Sycamore, Ill., native. "I think that speaks volumes about the guys we have in our position group and how much of a brotherhood it actually is."

Now entering his senior season, Bednarek is now faced with a more direct task of leadership, a challenge he says is something that comes naturally.

"I think the mindset all of the older guys had coming into this year and that we were all going to have to step up and lead by example," he explained. "Being an upperclassman with a large incoming freshmen class, it puts us in those positions by default and I think we've all done a pretty solid job in taking on the role so far. We understand that there are going to be times where we have to step away from being a player for a little while and slide into the role of coach for these young guys."

The Falcons brought in nearly 80 freshmen for the 2017 campaign, which can make things interesting because it was over half the total number of players on the roster.

"I think the young guys have done a really good job picking up what we're trying to teach them." the offensive line signal caller said "It's going to have a big impact on them down the road and I think a lot of these younger guys are going to make an impact as soon as they get the call to play on Saturdays."

While Bednarek and the rest of the offensive line may know when to buckle down and get serious, that doesn't stop them from finding ways to keep the mood light. The game of football is intense, on and off the field, but there has always been a lighter side of the game, especially with the linemen who are in the trenches every day. "We've got a bunch of lighthearted guys so it's not really all that difficult to find ways to have fun and keep everyone in a good mood," said Bednarek. "We do a lot of different things to keep guys motivated despite how difficult practice can get at times."

"We've got a bunch of lighthearted guys, so it's not really all that difficult to find ways to have fun and keep everyone in a good mood," said Bednarek. "We do a lot of different things to keep guys motivated despite how difficult practice can get at times."

One of these aforementioned things is known as the 'Belt'. "I think the idea for the belt came about sometime in the offseason when one of our guys saw a hockey team had out a WWE championship belt to someone they thought worked the hardest or improved the most that week," explained Bednarek. "From there it kind of just took off."   The "Belt" goes to the offensive lineman who Offensive Line Coach Greg Fictum, thinks had the best week of practice and performed the best on Saturday during the team's game.  "Each week coach grades our performance and whoever grades out the highest gets the belt for that week.  It's a fun way to encourage a little friendly competition between us as a position group." 

"I think the idea for the belt came about sometime in the offseason when one of our guys saw a hockey team give a WWE championship belt to a teammate they thought worked the hardest or improved the most that week," stated the senior. "From there it kind of just took off."   The "Belt" goes to the offensive lineman who Offensive Line Coach Greg Fictum, thinks had the best week of practice and performed the best on Saturday during the team's game.  "Each week coach grades our performance and whoever grades out the highest gets the belt for that week.  It's a fun way to encourage a little friendly competition between us as a position group."

Bednarek, who received the belt for the team's 42-6 season-opening victory at home over Finlandia, says that while the belt encourages competition between his teammates, it also serves a bigger purpose.

Bednarek's road to the offensive line may have been a unique one, but he says it's something he'll never regret. "Looking back on the past few years and comparing them to when I came in as a freshman, I realize that the offensive line is the best position group on the field.  We show up every day with the mindset that we're going to out-work everyone, yet we still find enough time to make the game fun and

"Looking back on the past few years and comparing them to when I came in as a freshman, I realize that the offensive line is the best position group on the field. We show up every day with the mindset that we're going to outwork everyone, yet we still find enough time to make the game fun and enjoyable," explained Bednarek.  "And as an added bonus, I get the ball every play."

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