The initial conversation when Larry Fedora’s coaching staff arrived in Chapel Hill was honest and to the point.
“You know you can’t play in this offense weighing that much, right?”
The comment wasn’t meant in a cruel manner, but rather in a factual way. It’s one of many examples in how Fedora demands accountability up and down his roster.
“It wasn’t a lot of pressure, they just told me what I needed to do if I wanted to be effective and wanted have a great career and leave my legacy behind,” Bond said. “So I took it in my hands just to get the weight down and get it under control, and I did that.”
Bond’s weight ballooned to 372 pounds following the Independence Bowl game last December. The 6-foot-7 guard weighed in at 329 pounds following the summer workout program and has dropped an extra couple of pounds now that training camp is nearing its midway point. His body fat percentage is now just south of 19.0.
Dropping roughly 45 pounds over an eight-month period requires serious effort. The Windsor, N.C. would leave spring practice sessions or offseason workouts and jump on the treadmill or Stairmaster for an extra hour each day, even on weekends.
“The thing for me was just burning calories each day, watching what I eat and taking care of my body,” Bond said.
If the extra cardio wasn’t enough, Bond got into a habit of joining several defensive backs for work in the sand pit on Sunday afternoons. The drills consisted of back pedaling and cutting, among others. The purpose was simple – burn calories and work up a sweat.
That work ethic has allowed Bond to inject some versatility on the offensive line. With starting right tackle Brennan Williams limited in practice during the first week of camp, Bond slid over from his right guard spot to man the edge.
“We’ve had some guys that have been in and out on the offensive line,” Fedora said last week. “I don’t know how many reps [Bond’s] getting in practice, but I know he’s not coming off the field. He’s having to get it with the ones, he’s having to bounce out to tackle with the twos. He’s getting a lot of reps and he wouldn’t have been able to do that at 370 pounds.”
When asked if he would have been able to play tackle last season, Bond replied: “Honestly, no.”
“I just weighed too much,” he continued. “I came in and they put me at right guard. Had never played it until I got here. So playing right tackle now, I feel a lot better and more confident. I feel a lot quicker. So when they see me now at right tackle, the boys don’t shake their heads and say, ‘No, that’s not going to work.’ It is what it is. I’m playing [right tackle] and I’m in and out at it. Learning two positions is tough, but you’ve just got to work through it. I’m having fun with it right now.”
Bond claims to be faster and more fluid due to his weight loss and believes that holds true for the entire offensive line. That group, of course, is being coached by a new face in Chris Kapilovic.
“He’s a lot different than Coach [Sam] Pittman, but they still have their similarities,” Bond said. “Coach Kap is a great coach. He came in and wants everything done right. He wants us to live up to the expectations and the hype that comes with the offensive line that we’ve got this year. We just want to continue to work together, help win games and help the offensive line be more effective in the running game.”
Kapilovic praised Bond’s ability to play both positions earlier this week, especially in light of depth and injury concerns along the offensive line.
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