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August 23, 2011Winston-Salem, N.C. - Wake Forest has no dissension through its ranks as it prepares for the 2011 college football season. Now less than a week and a half away from kicking off everyone will see if the bond of brotherhood that has been cultivated since the beginning of the off-season and all the way up into training camp will last throughout the season.
After enduring the adversity of two straight losing seasons, the veteran players felt it was time to bring back that sense of community to the team.
"Last year after practice in the locker room people would shower, and leave," junior wide receiver Chris Givens said. "Now after practice in the locker room you got to tell people to get out of the locker room, because everyone is just in there hanging out and relaxing, and talking to one another. The chemistry it's something special about this team. You can't really describe it, but as far as being together it's a lot closer than it was last year."
Make no mistake it is not always buddy, buddy with the Deacs. When on the practice field they are there to compete, and push one another. Senior strong safety Cyhl Quarles jokingly refers to the receivers as mouthy.
"We're teammates, but once we go in practice it's offense versus defense," Givens said. "We try to make it as game-like as possible with the intensity, so every now and then me and Kenny [Okoro] will get into it a little bit jaw jacking, or me and Bud [Noel], or Camp and Bud, or Camp and Kenny. There's always a little talking going on, but it's all fun."
These intense competitors become family once again off the practice field, and the relationships extend outside of football. Senior left guard Joe Looney said that they were the ones around campus this summer, so they did not have much choice, but to spend time with one another.
"I think the spring really allowed us to bond a lot," Quarles said. "This summer a lot of guys stayed up in North Carolina. Working out and hanging out really helped getting to know each other on a personal level. You start to love each other, and you do anything for somebody that you love. On the field you understand you got their back."
Looney moved in with Cameron Ford, Michael Hoag and Doug Weaver this summer.
"I'm learning a lot about those guys," Looney said. "We all took golf this summer. We all love playing golf now. We went to the course a couple of times, and we just have a good time out there."
If not on the football field, golf course, or hitting the books, Looney and the other offensive linemen are not hard to find.
Looney said left tackle Dennis Godfrey is the best cook on the team, and enjoys hosting his teammates for cookouts.
Whether it is spending extra time in the locker room, tearing down the fairways, or chowing down at Godfrey's Grill the Demon Deacons are intentional with building relationships with their teammates and growing together.
"Wake Forest, we're going to be ready to play this year," Quarles said. "We love each other. We're going to do some great things this year. I believe in that. I think everybody should jump on that bandwagon who believes that. There's a new vibe on this team. I think it's a good vibe."
Winning takes more than good team chemistry, but coming together is a major part of it, and Wake Forest looks strong in that area. That is one victory for the Demon Deacons as they enter the 2011 season.