Taking it to the house
Five football players live together, bond through cooking, studying, pranking
Five Buffalo football players live in a house together, where the conversation is centered more around computer programming and coding than X’s and O’s. From left to right. junior defensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli, sophomore running back Anthone Taylor, junior defensive lineman Dalton Barksdale, junior offensive lineman Jake Silas and senior defensive lineman Colby Way.
One might expect a residence occupied by 1,416 total pounds of football players to be a house filled with talk of X's and O's and copious amounts of food.
Only the latter is correct in the case of the house occupied by five Buffalo football players, however, as their home is usually filled with talk of computer programming and coding as opposed to audibles and gap assignments.
Senior defensive lineman Colby Way, sophomore running back Anthone Taylor, junior offensive lineman Jake Silas and junior defensive linemen Dalton Barksdale and Kristjan Sokoli live together in the same house two minutes from North Campus. Three of the roommates study computer engineering at UB and have developed several apps for gaming.
When the football team has 6 a.m. workouts, Way is usually the first one up and making breakfast for his roommates.
"I always like to eat breakfast before a workout," Way said. "So I'm always willing to help out and make it for other people, too, because if you're up making breakfast for yourself, it's pretty easy to just throw a couple more eggs on."
The house uses more than just a couple eggs, however. They estimated they go through about 108 a week. The Bulls said they eat a lot of eggs because they want to stay healthy. They use eggs to make breakfast sandwiches, wraps and omelets.
With four of the five roommates weighing over 290 pounds, the house always has a steady appetite to fill.
"We go through a lot of food," Barksdale said. "Like, seriously, a lot of food."
The roommates usually can't eat breakfast together during the school week because of their different schedules, but they're typically together for dinner.
Way has a condition for his roommates if he cooks breakfast or dinner: they have to clean the dishes.
A few weeks ago, the dishes in their sink piled up so high that the Bulls could not fit another dish. The dirty dishes had even started to overflow onto the counter. Way eventually got so fed up that he cleaned the dishes himself and made a rule that everyone cleans their own dishes.
"Normally, it's so dirty that one person gets so mad that they just clean everything," Barksdale said.
Barksdale noted there are currently only two dishes in their sink.
Silas admitted their house "definitely [has] a lived-in look."
The Bulls said whoever sees something that needs to be cleaned does it - like taking out the trash. They've had to mop their floors a few times because they often track mud into the house.
Way and Silas both said Barksdale is the messiest of the roommates. When Silas and Barksdale were asked who the messiest was, Silas said to Barksdale: "Dalton, you care to take that one?"
Barksdale first denied the claim that he was the messiest of the roommates, but then he admitted it.
"If you were to ask everyone in the house, they would say me," Barksdale said. "But if you ask me, it's everyone else. It's not that my room is messy ... all right, I'm the messiest one in the house. But there's a reason. I'm not in my room a lot. It just sneaks up on me."
The roommates try not to talk about football at home much because they have to talk about it all day at practice, but Barksdale and Way sometimes go around the house calling out defensive play calls and adjustments to mess with their roommates who play offense.
"Sometimes, the defensive guys, we'll just say stuff that we know they don't know just for fun," Barksdale said. "We'll just go around calling plays out and signaling plays for fun."
The conversation in the house often turns to computer programming and coding.
Way and Silas are computer engineering majors, and Barksdale is a math major with minors in computer science and education. The roommates have developed several free downloadable app games for the Android phone. They described the apps as brain activity games.
A day after one of their games was released, the roommates told all of their teammates and coaches at practice to download it. Barksdale said they even told "random staff members in the training room," and he believes head coach Jeff Quinn has downloaded the game.
Some of their teammates have told them they're waiting for them to develop new levels for the game. The roommates said one of their games has 2,000 downloads.
Way, Silas and Barksdale will often sit in the living room with their laptops as they program and talk to each other about coding. Sokoli sometimes gets tired of all the computer talk and will come into the living room and mock his roommates by pretending to talk about coding with them.
"Sokoli will come in and talk nonsense, but it actually kind of sounds legit," Way said. "He'll just say random technical terms. It's kind of funny."
The roommates sometimes play pranks on one another, as well. Recently, Barksdale got a rattlesnake eggs prank from Canada. It's an envelope that contains a metal washer and rubber band, and when it opens it makes a loud rattling sound. The envelope is labeled "rattlesnake eggs," and Barksdale has pranked all of his roommates with it.
The prank scared Taylor the most.
"We got Anthone the best," Barksdale said. "He doesn't like snakes anyway, but if the wall weren't behind him, he may have fallen over."
The Bulls appreciate living with one another because they can relate with what they're going through.
"I know some other people that live with non-athletes. They'll go home and be tired and their roommates will go around having parties," Barksdale said. "No matter how bad you feel, you look around the house and you see they're just as tired and you think, 'Maybe I shouldn't be complaining.'"
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