When Garrett Bradbury enrolled at NC State in 2014, he expected to be catching passes instead of blocking for quarterbacks. The Charlotte (NC) Christian star was originally signed as a tight end, but after spending the fall of 2014 at the position he moved to the defensive side of the ball where he worked at defensive end and defensive tackle. Last year he ended up back on offense, as an interior lineman, and he really seems to have found a home.
"I love the guys in the room," said Bradbury. "I love the atmosphere and the culture of offensive line. Coach Ledford doing an awesome job. He's a great coach. He loves us. We love him. We love each other. The band of brothers thing has really stuck together. We really play for each other. It's fun."
Ledford arrived at NC Sate in January after offensive line coach Mike Uremovich was hired as offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois. A former NFL lineman, Ledford excelled at App. State prior to joining the Wolfpack.
"His biggest thing is demeanor and attitude," Bradbury said of Ledford. "When playing offensive line, that's one thing you got to have. You got to be able to impose your will on the defense. You got to see when they're tired and take advantage of it. He wants us to get stronger when the other team gets tired and stuff like that. Just physicality and demeanor, he really takes pride in."
Projected to start at left guard, Bradbury doesn't have much experience but he has been able to lean on others for advice, when needed. Senior center Joseph Scelfo started for two years at South Alabama before transferring to NC State over the summer. He's been a huge addition on the field and in the locker room.
"Joe adds experience... experience and leadership," said Bradbury. "He's been there and done that against SEC, ACC schools. He was all-conference before coming here. He knows the defenses. He knows how to play offensive line and how his guards need to work with him, so I think his experience has been a huge thing... and his leadership."
Playing on the other side of Bradbury will be redshirt sophomore left tackle Tyler Jones, who has reportedly had a terrific fall camp.
"He's so gifted just talent-wise and athleticism-wise," Bradbury said of Jones. "His pass-sets are strong and he has long arms, good feet. We've got great defensive ends as you know, and it's been a great competition. It's back and forth every practice between him and the defensive ends he goes against. He's going to be ready."
"I think Terronne Prescod, Big T, has done a really good job," he stated. "He's got some really good fundamentals and can really impose his will on defensive lineman. It's really fun to watch that, sometimes.
"Obviously when you play, you never know what's going to happen this season. It's good to know you got some guys behind us that can help us out."
With the season opener just days away, Bradbury seems pleased with the progress the unit has made.
"It's been a long few weeks, but we've gotten better," he said. "We're coming together as an offensive line, as an offense, and as a team. We've been getting each other better all camp, but we're definitely ready to hit someone else.
"Obviously, people are going to question [the offensive line], but we don't really listen to that. That's just noise. Obviously, we have utmost confidence in ourselves. We have great defensive line, and that's making our offensive line better everyday. I truly believe we can go up against any defensive line and dent their defense, run the ball, and protect who we need to protect."
Every player has a goal, individually and for the team, and Bradbury is no different. In fact, he believes his are simple.
"Obviously we want to win the championship," he said. "That's why you play. For the OL, we don't want anyone to touch our quarterback, and we want to get Matt Dayes easily over a thousand yards. Easily over a thousand... he's the best running back in the ACC, in my opinion. We just got to help him get there."