SAN DIEGO – The contrast of
His wicked “farmer’s tan,” as it’s referred to in parts of the United States, was difficult to miss as the former Oklahoma State Cowboy sat at his locker after a June practice.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to apply the word to Bond, who lived in rural Oklahoma as a child in a town of about 100 people. This is the first year he hasn’t returned to work on a farm since ninth grade.
But the term “country strong” may be a misnomer. Farms aren’t like they used to be, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound guard said.
“Technology helps you out so much now,” Bond said. “It’s not like it used to be.”
He drove about eight miles to attend school in Garber, Okla. At 6-foot-5, an inch shorter than he is now, Bond towered above the 120 other 7th to 12th graders in the halls and became a bulldozer for the offense.
Garber High School played eight-man football. Bond played tight end, which translated to human wrecking ball in the condensed game, which is played without offensive tackles. His team sometimes ran for 300 yards behind him on a Friday night.
“There were some big guys, but not near as many. Week in and week out, you didn’t (face) an athlete,” he said.
Bond, who got used to being on an island at right tackle in college, has been transitioning to guard for the Chargers and said he still plays too high for his new position.
“Everything’s so much quicker for me. It’s still football, but a little bit different technique than tackle. I’ve got to keep getting lower,” he said. “I take pride, though, at being in the right place every time. I try to do everything right.
“I don’t know about my chances, but I’ve gotten better at certain things. I’ve gotten better at some pass sets. I’ve gotten my footwork down, but now I’ve got to work on my hand placement and getting my punch in. So it’s just one thing after another. I try to fix something every day, master something every day and move on.”
Surrounded by farmland, Bond said he’d never seen the beach until he came to California. But the change of scenery and cuisine hasn’t soured him.
Asked about his favorite meal, he said he likes mashed potatoes, chicken noodle soup and corn mixed together in a large bowl. He likes chicken-fried steaks, too.
“I’m more of a quantity than quality guy a lot of times, so just whatever,” he said.