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Football: Quave brothers remain close with ‘Momma’ despite choosing UL

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, August 28, 2014



UL offensive lineman Daniel Quave answers questions at UL Media Day earlier this month. (Photo:Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser)



Daniel Quave was already at UL, lured from his Mississippi home by a game his mother knows so little about.

Mykhael Quave was a senior at Gautier (Miss.) High, where "Momma" Quave works now as a secretary who helps to deal with – good choice here – discipline.

It was 2010, and it was a trying time for all the Quaves.

But Daniel helped to make Mykhael’s choosing among multiple college options easier by saying the decision should be all his younger brother’s.

So did someone else, and she – Patricia Quave, mother of six – was carrying much more then than the mere weight of watching her two youngest ones go away.

It was breast cancer.

"That really meant everything to me, for her to be going through everything she was going through with her cancer and everything, and for her not to tell me to make a decision based on her … and to tell me to put myself first," Mykhael Quave said.

"That just made coming here (to UL) so much easier, and it really made us a lot closer, from her doing that.

"He (brother Daniel) pretty much told me the same thing," Quave added. "He was like, ‘If you’re gonna commit here, don’t commit here just for me. … He just said, ‘Follow your heart. If you really love it here, then come here.’ "

Mykhael loved it, just like Daniel.

Now the two brothers are preparing to open their third and final season starting together on UL’s offensive line when the Ragin’ Cajuns play host Saturday night to defending SWAC-champion Southern.

Guard Daniel is a 6-foot-3, 324-pound fifth-year senior who has started 39 straight games, and blind-side tackle Mykhael is a 6-5, 295-pound redshirt junior who has started 26 in a row.

"It’s a proud moment," Patricia Quave said, "just being Momma and just having them both together – because they’ve been together since peewee football."

And they still are.

She, though, is the rock keeping all the Quaves whole.

"They’ve got a great Momma," UL coach Mark Hudspeth said. "We call her Momma Quave. She sends me inspirational quotes during the season. … She’s an inspiration to a lot of people.

"Good family. Good boys. Well-respected. Good students. They’re gonna do well, and they’re gonna do well after football too."

Thank Momma for that.


Mykhael spurned opportunities from South Alabama (just 46 miles from Gautier), Southern Mississippi (only 88 miles away, and Patricia Quave’s alma mater), UL Monroe and Louisiana Tech to join Daniel 215 miles off in Lafayette.

He wasn’t as close to home as he could have been, but relatives weren’t too, too far away – and, in one instance, they were tag-teaming again.

"I just kind of allowed him to make his own decision," Daniel said. "Of course I put my two cents in, but I didn’t put any pressure on him.

"It meant a lot (to Mykhael), to understand we respect him enough to know that he has a life himself. But I’m pretty sure he took everything into consideration. He partly made his decision based upon … that situation we were in as a family."

But he also did it, Daniel said, knowing that "just love is gonna take care of everything."

"That’s one thing we always base our family on," he said.

Yet that’s something Daniel had to convince himself of when he was an 18-year-old true freshman at UL, getting redshirted and away from Mississippi, Mykhael and Momma for the first time.

Here was the woman, after all, who had guided him through high school on her own, and what she was dealing with was much larger than when he’d play his first down or with which program his brother would sign.

"Your mother just got breast cancer; the first thing you kind of want to do is go home," Daniel Quave said. "But if I go home, it’s not gonna make the situation (any) better.

"I don’t know how I coped with it, to be honest. Really, God just brought through it – because that was a hard period of time.

"We’re just thankful to have her here back in our lives, and no hurt or harm with what happened," he added. "We’re just blessed in that situation."

That they are, Patricia Gautier suggests.

"I actually think (having Daniel already at UL) really did make it easier for (Mykhael)," she said. "Because other schools were looking at him, but I think at the end of the day him being with family made the biggest impact on that decision.

"I did hear … Mykhael say he couldn’t imagine being without his brother."


That was especially the case during those first several months, during Daniel’s freshman season, when the two separated.

Still, Daniel insisted Mykhael make his own call on whether to join him or not.

So did Patricia, though to this day even she does not know how she gathered the strength to let go.

"It had to be dependence, and my trust, on God," she said.

"I told each one of my children – because my oldest daughter was planning on moving back home – ‘No, this is not going to change anything. Because I’m going to be fine. I’m going to be fine, so you’re going to go ahead and make the decision that you need to do.’ "

Patricia Quave’s three daughters also all graduated from Southern Miss, and an older son joined the Marines straight out of high school.

"We were not going to let cancer alter anything about our lives, in any sense," she said of herself, Daniel, Mykhael and the linemen’s four siblings.

"I made it plain to each one of them to go on with what they doing, and they were not going to base anything on ‘what my Momma was facing,’ because I needed them to think Momma’s fine."

Truth be told, though, she smiled deep inside when learning the two brothers would again be together.

"You try to be strong, like, ‘You’ve got to do what’s best for you,’ " Patricia Quave said. "But when he made that decision, it was like, ‘Oh, Lord, thank you.’ "

"It’s not like it’s killing two birds with one stone," Daniel Quave added with reference to brothers playing on the same team. "It’s really two blessings in one arena."

Beyond that, there are practical advantages too – like not having to decide what college stadium to drive to on which Saturday.

With the many pros, though, came one con.

"The only difficult part is trying to keep up with both of them on the field," Patricia Quave said. "I have to always ask, ‘Who did what?’ "

When bodies are banging, the ball is moving and one son is on the left side while the other is on the right, two certainly are tougher to track than one.

That’s especially so for someone still not quite locked in on just what she’s seeing.

She admittedly got dragged into to becoming a football fan, and slowly but surely Mykhael and Daniel converted her.

"I’m going now without kicking and screaming," Patricia said. "I’m going in all the way."

There’s no choice, really.

"I always ask them, ‘Do y’all still love it?’ " she said. "And they’re like, ‘Momma?’ They just can’t imagine life without football."


Count UL senior quarterback Terrance Broadway among those happy the Quave brothers are all in.

"They have a chemistry of their own," he said, "and communicate well. … It feeds back to me."

The elder Quave is leader of an offensive line that also returns Terry Johnson, who has moved from guard to center, and tackle Octravian Anderson.

"He’s always positive," Broadway said of Daniel Quave, who was recruited to UL by current Cajun receivers coach Jorge Munoz under the old staff of ex-UL head coach Rickey Bustle. "Even if something bad happens, Daniel is always, ‘Well, let’s go to the next play.’

"Even if they (weren’t) brothers, everybody always respects Daniel as ‘the older brother.’ … Everyone on the team, everyone on the offensive line, everyone on the offense, respects what he has to say when he does say anything."

By his own admission, however, even Daniel can’t suggest that early on he envisioned the situation he and his brother are enjoying now.

"Because I was still young," he said. "I just wanted for us to come here and really make a name for ourselves."

It’s that way for the whole family.

"We kind of set the standard high for everybody to get the best potential out of each other in our own lives," Daniel said. "Me and Mykhael are pushing each other, and probably pushing our sisters and brother to make the Quave legacy that much memorable whenever we’re off the earth."

Still, Daniel added, "but I didn’t for a million years picture it to be this."

How could he?

For the longest time, he really wasn’t quite sure what Mykhael would do.


Deep down, however, Mykhael had little doubt.

UL line coach Mitch Rodrigue started recruiting Mykhael when he worked at South Alabama, then joined Hudspeth’s then-new Cajun staff in time for 2011’s national signing day.

"When (Rodrigue) got this job," Hudspeth said, "he just told (Mykhael) to get ready to change addresses and brought him here. It was a great, great move."

It was a fairly easy sell, too, because the youngest Quave wanted to be with Daniel all along.

He just needed to make sure.

"It was mostly me falling in love with the school for myself, and then him being here already made it a plus," Mykhael Quave said. "But I made the decision off of what I was feeling, and … after I got to the city everything pretty much fell into line.

"When the new coaches came," he added, "they started showing me they could really turn things around here. I bought into it."

Now, especially coming off of three straight 9-4 seasons and three straight New Orleans Bowl victories, he is really is happy he did.

"It really means a lot (being with Daniel), because we’ve really gotten to live our whole lives together," Mykhael said. "We’ve done everything together, and we haven’t missed a beat with each other. We know each other, we know who each other are.

"It’s an amazing experience to play collegiate football with him – and even go to college with him. Just to experience this part of life together. It’s just an amazing feeling that we don’t take lightly."

Nor does you-know-who.

"All parents want their kids to have great relationships," Mykheal said.

"You know, we’d be mad at each other sometimes. But just us knowing how to deal with each other, to know stuff is going to happen but be mature enough to get past them – just her seeing that, her heart rests easy knowing we love each other and we have that bond."

Inseparable, off the field and – for one more season, at least – on.

"We look over," Mykhael said, "and we see what we’re both going through, and we’re both like, ‘We’ve got to get this done.’ "

Just the way Momma would want.

If only she knew what the two were supposed to do.

"It really makes you feel good, and just proud to see them doing so well," Patricia Quave said of the brothers, who remain roommates. "They’ve both been supporting each other, and being there for each other and for the team. It really makes me feel good as a mom, to see them doing so well."

How good?

"I don’t think we have a measuring stick for that," she said. "It’s just off the charts.

"One thing I always tell them: First of all, you represent God. You represent your family. And you represent that school. So being able to see them represent, and then seeing received so well by the fan base and the community – it just makes Momma proud."

Southern at UL

Game: 6 p.m., Saturday, Cajun Field.

TV: None.

Radio: 107.9 FM.

Online: ESPN3 (Matt Stewart, Cole Cubelic).