The Wildcat football team took its first steps into a new season, as the team named their captains for the upcoming year. The team elects captains annually, and this year, four seniors received the honor. Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk, running back Aaron Forbes, linebacker Jeff Steeb and defensive back Rob Rolle, will all don a “C” on their jerseys next year. Players are chosen to be captain through a ballot system, in which every player on the team can vote for two players. In addition, the elected captains must then be approved by the coaches. As a result, being named captain signifies respect from not only a player’s teammates but coaches as well.
Zach Bednarczyk is coming off of a tough junior season, in which he began the year as starting quarterback, but was soon sidelined with a Grade 3 MCL tear in his left knee. Bednarczyk is preparing for 2018 with a chip on his shoulder, knowing that this season will be his final in a Wildcats’ uniform. With how essential the quarterback position is, Bednarczyk knows that being seen as a team leader is important. The quarterback is “the boss of the operation,” as Bednarczyk said, and other players on offense will be looking to him in important situations throughout the season. The southpaw gunslinger is one of many pieces returning to a Villanova offense that performed very well before the injury bug bit the team last season.
One of these offensive weapons is Aaron Forbes, a senior running back from Newburgh, NY. Forbes was part of a running back-by-committee offense with Matt Gudzak last season. However, injury soon led to Forbes becoming the star of the show, as he wrapped up the season with a 140-yard performance against Delaware. With Gudzak graduated, Forbes will continue his role as a workhorse back in the Villanova backfield. Forbes, who considers himself a quieter leader, says he leads by example. He states that his teammates feed off the mentality he brings to the practice field, the weight room, and gameday, as he is “always happy and excited to be here.”
One of the Wildcats’ captains on the defensive side of the ball is Jeff Steeb, who has started at linebacker since his sophomore year. Steeb is yet another linebacker named captain for the Wildcats, as NFL Draft prospect, Ed Shockley, was captain last season. Steeb credits his ability to lead on the defensive ball to his determination. Steeb says, on defense, it is important to realize that “not every play’s gonna go your way.” As a result, he makes sure to do all he can to make sure the team is successful.
Rob Rolle is the other captain on the defensive side of the ball, his second year with this honor. Rolle, a playmaking safety, led the FCS with seven interceptions in his junior year and tallied up 63 tackles. After being named the preseason favorite to win the CAA Defensive Player of the Year award, Rolle’s senior season was unfortunately cut short as he went down with a torn left ACL. However, by taking a medical redshirt, Rolle is able to return to the field for a fifth year of eligibility. Rolle was honored to be named captain once again.
“It means a lot to know that even though I was unable to contribute last season, my teammates are still behind me,” he said.
Although last season did not go as well as planned for the Wildcats, they certainly have all of the pieces to bounce back this year. With players returning from injury, developing their abilities and emerging as leaders, the roster will certainly be improved. When combined with the leadership of the quartet of captains, there is no limit to what the team can accomplish next season. The Wildcats 2018 season will begin on Sep. 1, with a game against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field.