LAFAYETTE — You can hear a Quave brother before you spot one, which is hard to figure considering they check in at an average size of 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds.
It’s the distinctive laugh they share. It’s deep and honest, making whoever prompted the laugh to feel like they were actually saying something funny. It sounds like slow-motion staccato, each utterance a sentence on its own: “Ha! Ha! Ha!”
And that laugh is always near the surface, which is why the ears will always tip a person off to senior right guard Daniel or junior left tackle Mykhael Quave’s approach. It has permeated through the Louisiana-Lafayette football program for the past four years, a double-barrel blast of friendliness.
“There are not many dull moments with us,” said Mykhael, the younger brother. “We try to stay alive and keep joy in each other. I guess it trickles down to other people; seeing our joy brings them joy.”
But all good things must come to an end. Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl will mark the 39th and final time the Quave brothers have started together on the offensive line — and they’re OK with that.
The Quaves have been bracing for this. Maybe not overtly — there isn’t a countdown clock in their apartment — but the happy-go-lucky siblings have made sure to cherish their time together while understanding that it won’t last forever.
“We’ve been preparing ourselves mentally for this the whole year, to make sure we both understood how important it was to take every moment that we got this year and just soak it in,” Mykhael said.
And while they’ve been filling their mental scrapbook, the Quaves have been playing rock-solid football on the offensive line for the past three seasons, perhaps none better than 2014.
Each was recognized on the Sun Belt’s all-conference teams at the end of the season, with Daniel earning first-team honors and Mykhael landing a spot on the second team. Their on-field prowess has been enhanced by their reliability. Each has started every game of their college career, with Daniel set to make a school-record 52nd consecutive start.
“(Daniel) has been the stability of this program for four years,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “It’s hard to fathom that he started that many games playing on the interior in the trenches without injury. That goes to show his toughness.”
Their close friend, senior tight end Larry Pettis, chalks up their durability to athleticism.
“You see them and they’re bigger, but those guys can run with you,” he said. “In the summertime, we’ll go mess around and play basketball, and they’re one of the first ones picked.”
There’s something of a sibling rivalry between the two, though it’s not the type that led to bumps and bruises growing up. More often it’s good-natured teasing centered on competition.
Daniel acknowledges that he’s stronger. Mykhael says he’s funnier.
“He’s always running around here saying he’s cuter than me, but I don’t get what he sees in himself,” Daniel said.
Somewhere unseen, Mykhael’s voice unwittingly chimes in with near perfect comedic timing.
“Ha! Ha! Ha!”
It served as a reminder that, while their time together in football is nearly at an end, it doesn’t mean their impact has run its course.
“The legacy of the Quave brothers is going to continue to live through him,” Daniel said. “Just as the Quave brother.”