Bond accepts ‘special’ role at Waterloo

Taking to the field as a special teams player takes a lot of heart and courage, not to mention physical ability.
It also takes a whole different mentality.
With players running down the field at full speed, hitting absolutely anything and everything that comes their way, it’s not only a full-out collision course–it’s war.
And one of those players lining up on special teams with the OUA champion Waterloo Warriors this season was former Muskie running back David Bond.
“I just concentrate on throwing blocks and making tackles,” said Bond, 20, who is studying pre-optometry at Waterloo when not crashing heads on the gridiron.
“There’s three [parts] in football–offence, defence, and special teams,” he noted. “When our coach yells ‘Let’s go psychos,’ we run down the field 50 yards at full speed, with their team doing the same.
“It’s all about hitting.”
There’s also a lot on the line. The Warriors (4-4 during the regular season) are going up against the fifth-ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies (7-1) in the Atlantic Bowl this Saturday in Halifax.
The winner earns a trip to the Vanier Cup in Toronto the following Saturday.
While their .500 record during the regular season was mediocre at first glance, three of those losses were only by a few points. And the Warriors knocked off the top-ranked Western Mustangs 35-21 in the OUA semi-finals.
Part of the reason for their success is the kamikaze style of play of Bond, who also is seeing limited action at the running back position and has drawn nothing but high praise from Waterloo assistant coach Marshall Bingeman.
“He’s a walk-on who came to our school last year, wanted to concentrate on schooling, and has now developed into one of our best walk-ons ever,” praised Bingeman, whose team downed the Laurier Golden Hawks 32-20 in front of a capacity home crowd of 7,000-plus last Saturday to win the Yates Cup.
“He’s also a backup tailback and fullback for us, and he’s done a great job for us on special teams,” Bingeman noted. “He’s made some great plays for us downfield.”
While Bond is the first to admit he’d like to see some more action carrying the ball out of the backfield, he knows he’s behind one of the best backs in the country in third-year player Mike Bradley, a recent nominee as all-Canadian.
“It’s hard getting used to it because it’s a different role but my job is to contribute to the team,” said Bond, who was recruited by both the Calgary Dinosaurs and Manitoba Bisons but never heard of in Waterloo before he contacted them.
“It makes me feel good when [Bingeman] says stuff like that because when I first talked to him, he said, ‘Where the [heck’s] Fort Frances.’
“They cut off their recruitment at Sault Ste. Marie because there’s no people in Fort Frances,” Bond noted.
Bond’s physical stature and ability to run a 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds–combined with the fact he finished in the top 15 out of 90 players on the team in the bench press (225 pounds lifted 12 times)–surely lifted some eyebrows.
It also garnered him a spot on the football team.
And Bond’s made the most of his chances–racking up 53 yards on just six carries for an average of nearly nine yards when his number is called.
In fact, his first run from scrimmage came against the University of Toronto, where the 5’11” 205-pounder ripped off an impressive 18-yard gain.
“I got 18 yards on my first run and I was just jacked,” said Bond, who has gained considerable size since his Muskie football career ended when he broke his right leg.
To gain that size, Bond became a regular in the gym at least four-five times a week.
“It’s pretty wild and different playing on turf, and with the loud crowds, it adds a lot of intensity and gets you pumped up. But you just block it out and concentrate on your role,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Bond figured the Warriors have as good a chance as any to advance to the Vanier Cup–the dream of every Canadian collegiate player.
“I think our chances are good if we don’t take the game lightly and not be overconfident,” he said. “We have to bring a lot of intensity and a lot of emotion to the game.”