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Becker follows man in middle; Farina leads offensive line.

Byline: Carl Setterlund

LEICESTER -- Becker College third-year center Tim Farina is as solid as they come, and in a year when the Hawks are replacing most of their top skill players -- including quarterback Bobby Baker -- they'll need Farina on the field.

That just about the last thing on coach Mike Lichten's mind, however, as Farina never seems to come off the field, playing almost every offensive snap since he came in as a touted freshman from East Lyme (Conn.) High School in 2012.

If offered a breather, Farina said he replies with a thanks, but no thanks. "I don't want to take a break,'' he'll said. "I want to show my brothers that I'm working.''

Although as a junior he isn't yet a captain, Farina demonstrates the best type of leadership an offensive lineman can -- consistency and dependability.

"Everyone likes to try to be a leader, and I'm just trying to do my part in this team to really contribute to the offense,'' said the 5-foot-11 Farina, who tips the scales at 277 pounds. "Part of that is being on the field, toughing it out through an injury.''

An exercise science major who would like to coach after he graduates, Farina is already somewhat of a coach on the field, according to Lichten, who said his center's team-first approach makes it easy for players to get in line behind him.

"He instills a ton of confidence in his teammates' minds because they know he's going to direct them the right way and set things for our front the correct way each and every time,'' said Lichten, now in his fourth season as coach.

That assuredness will prove essential as the Hawks' offense transitions from its old stalwart Baker, the only quarterback Farina has partnered with during his time at Becker, to this season's projected starter, junior Dylan McGuire.

"So far, he's really picked it up,'' Farina said. "Having our senior last year, Bobby Baker, leave and graduate (leaves) a huge gap in our offense. Dylan's really molding into the player that he's supposed to be; staying in the pocket, making good throws, good reads and really making my job easier as well.''

Another thing making Farina's job easier is the stability on both sides of him.

"I've been playing with Chris (Schwarz) and (Austin) Sabo for three years now, so the chemistry's obviously there,'' Farina said of his standout linemates.

After winning their final two games last season, the Hawks will try to improve on the 3-7 record they've been stuck on the last two seasons. Lichten said controlling the line of scrimmage is something he can rely on with this group.

"He's a great technician, great feet, great hand placement,'' said Schwarz, a senior captain and offensive guard, talking about Farina.

The Hawks' other captain, defensive lineman Antonio Young, had similar praise for Farina -- and he's seen plenty of the Becker center, dating before college.

"I'm from Connecticut just like Tim, and we used to play his team in high school,'' said Young, who went to Enfield (Conn.) High School. "We used to joke about that, he had a powerhouse team that used to beat us every year, just destroy us. He's a field general. He's out there making calls, eyes up at all times.''

Farina will need those eyes up this year, as the weight on his shoulders increases. He's no longer the fresh-faced newcomer impressing his way into a starting gig. Now Farina is the rock, the wily veteran the offense can depend on.

"He cares more about his teammates and his coaches and representing Becker to the best of his ability more than he does any of his personal accomplishments or personal ambitions,'' Lichten said. "He's everything you look for in a team player and everything you look for in a leader.''

So follow the leader -- depend on him -- because you know if he has anything to say about it, Farina's never coming out of that game.

Contact Carl Setterlund


Follow him on Twitter @tgsports.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Setterlund, Carl
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 23, 2014
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