Redshirt junior offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury talks with Pack Pride about spring practice and much more.
I'm sure you guys have high expectations coming in this year, probably feel like you were close last year. Is that the mindset of the team going into spring practice?
Yeah, absolutely. I think we have a lot of good depth this spring. We have a lot of returning guys up front, which obviously from my perspective I think is the biggest thing.
We basically returned five starters on the line. We lose Joe at center, which is a big loss, but at the same time Big T came in and played well. He was a sixth starter for us last year.
As an offensive line, second year in Coach Ledford's system... Coach Drink's offense. We're starting to get really comfortable with the expectations and the standards and just what we need to do when we come out here and work.
You mentioned that the line play is critical. I think the same thing. When you look at this team, all your starters are back on the defensive line. Four, maybe five, on offense. Is that where you think the confidence should come from for this team this season?
That experience, because it's more of a comfort thing, you know that you can line up with anyone, get the job done and dominate. We're continuing to build just the tenacity and attitude of a dominant offensive line.
It's coming. This spring ball is just going to build on that... getting bigger, faster, stronger this summer with Coach Thunder is going to build on that. Then, fall camp we're going to be ready to go.
I know of the little we get to watch, about an hour, hour and a half, I think you, Tony Adams, and Terronne Prescod took snaps at center. Is that a deal where you're just trying to find who's going to play there? Is it still up in the air?
Yeah, everything's up in the air.
Like I said, we have four returning starters plus T, basically a fifth starter. At the end of the day we probably have 20 offensive linemen right now. Everyone's competing for a job. No job in the spring is solidified. Jobs aren't won in the spring, they're won in fall camp. Everyone's just crafting their skills right now. Everyone's getting better at what they do. If we could have more guys that can snap, that's ideal.
We can all get the job done. I'm confident in each and every one of us, but having multiple guys who can play center as well, it's huge I think.
For you individually, how much different is it playing center versus guard, or is there really much difference?
It's a huge difference.
It's still the offensive line, but it is a completely different position. Everything happens a lot quicker. You're in command. You're basically telling the rest of the four what they're doing that play and who they're working to.
It's a big responsibility. You have to mentally be a lot more sharp, with not just your assignment but you really got to tell the other guys who they're working to in order to make the play work.
You guys entered fall last year, there was some question marks about offensive line. Obviously you personally hadn't played I don't believe yet a lot.
I think it was maybe four. Was it four sophomores in the top six or something like that?
First year with Coach Ledford. Now, almost six months later, the confidence you have is that based on your production and your relationship you've been able to build with him and the team?
Absolutely. I think it's both. I think we had a great season as an offensive line. I think it could have been better also. We had our first 1,000 yard rusher since '02.
Sacks went down. We gave up 17 sacks, which is less than half of what we gave up the year before, with more pass attempts.
Then, just the comfort thing with Coach Ledford and understanding what he wants. He came in and we completely 360 turned on the mindset of offensive line. He let us know what his expectation was. Obviously he's been there, done that. Nine years in the league. The more we're with him and the more we see what he wants, the better it's going to be.
What's the biggest thing you've taken away from coach Ledford since he's came on?
I'd say just demeanor. The demeanor and attitude of playing offensive line. You really got to embrace it, and just the family aspect. There's no individuals on the offensive line. You work as a unit. Four of you guys do a great job and one doesn't, it's a busted play. He's really preached to us working as a family, being a family and playing together as one.
We know about the five returning guys who have played a lot, but who else has impressed you this spring?
Right now they're all working really hard.
Joe Sculthorpe at center has been doing a great job. He's really open to just all the different kinds of teaching and what we're telling him, and he's taking it and running with it.
Another guy Peter Daniel, this is his fifth year here. He's got great size and if he continues to get his technique down he'll definitely be a guy that can help us.
Last one, probably Aaron Wiltz. Huge... strong body. As soon as he gets, the technique and more understanding of the offense down, it'll allow him to play a lot faster.