Furman: An unfamiliar foe with an unfamiliar nickname

Not exactly sure what a Paladin is?  Neither were the Mizzou players.

The Furman Paladins, a team from the Southern Conference, aren't exactly an opponent everybody's heard of.

The Furman Paladins, a team from the Southern Conference, aren't exactly an opponent everybody's heard of.

As the week progresses and the Tigers’ troubles against Bowling Green fade further into the rear view mirror, I figured it’s time to start looking ahead to Saturday’s game against the Furman Paladins…Wait a sec, the Paladins?  First of all, yes, that seriously is their nickname, secondly, what the heck is a Paladin?

College football is home to some great nicknames.  Missouri has faced off against everyone from Gamecocks to Jayhawks, from Red Raiders to Blue Raiders.  They’ve played Racers and Rebels, Lobos and Longhorns, and Red Wolves and Redhawks.  But not once in its long history has the Missouri Tigers football team faced the Paladins.  So we thought we’d ask some of the guys, “What exactly is a Paladin?”

“[Their mascot] Is the who?” senior defensive tackle Jaron Baston said pausing to laugh.  “I’ve never heard of that before in my life.  A paladin?” he repeated slowly.

“Maybe it’s some sort of ancient warrior or fighter or something like that.  Is that what it is?”

Um, sorry Jaron, not exactly.

Defensive tackle Jaron Baston wasn't the only one who was unfamiliar with the Paladins. (Photo from kansascity.com)

Defensive tackle Jaron Baston wasn't the only one who was unfamiliar with the Paladins. (Photo from kansascity.com)

Sophomore tight end Andrew Jones thought he might have the inside scoop on the Paladins after reviewing some film earlier in the day.

“I was just watching film and I seen it written in their endzone,” he said.  His response sounded promising.  That is until he continued. “But I don’t know what it is.  I saw a horse thing running around on their field, but yeah I have no idea.”

Sorry Andrew, a paladin isn’t exactly a horse thing either.

Coming off a stellar rushing performance against Bowling Green, we thought maybe running back Derrick Washington’s good fortune’s might continue.  However, he was also unsure of the Furman mascot.

“No, I have no clue,” he replied with a laugh.  “Do you know what it is?  I can’t even guess.”

Hopefully for Mizzou, Washington can get past the Furman D better than he got around answering our question.

Finally, we approached senior captain Sean Weatherspoon.  Perhaps he would know what a paladin is.  He quickly told us otherwise.

“I have no idea,” he said.  “I’ve got to do a little more homework to find that out man.  I’ve never heard of that, but my mom did actually go to Furman for a semester.  I’ve never asked her, I’m about to call her and find out today though.

Any guesses Spoon?

“No man, I don’t even want to go there.”

According to the Oxford dictionary a paladin is, “a knight renowned for heroism and chivalry.”

On the football field the Paladins are a strong FCS team.  They are 2-0 this season and 58-29 all time under coach Bobby Lamb, who is in his 8th year with Furman.  This week they received votes in the FCS coaches poll and would be ranked 30th if the rankings continued.

However, Missouri is the first FBS team the Paladins will face this season and playing at “The Zou,” should be a little different for them than playing in front of 11,000 at Chattanooga as they did a week ago.

So no matter if you think the Paladins are ancient warriors as Baston guessed or some type of panther like senior Brian Coulter suggested, the bottom line is the Paladins should be nothing but the Tigers’ next ‘W’ on the schedule.



2 responses to “Furman: An unfamiliar foe with an unfamiliar nickname

  1. The name Paladin derives from Palatine, a knight of the emperor Charlemagne. He is a warrior. And yes, we are the only school with the nickname. We’re not offended by the questions raised by your comment. We heard the same from South Carolina, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh. When we left town, they still didn’t know for sure what a Paladin is, but the game was definately not an easy W. Only one of the previously mentioned teams got a W. Pittsburgh (in 2004) had to come from behind and go into overtime for a 3 point win. We’ve also played tough games against Bowl division teams, Florida State and Florida.

    So, what with this stadium name, The Zou? And why is it that people in Missouri have such difficulty with spelling Missouri? Mizzou?

    Furman will not roll over and play dead for the Tigers. We are looking forward to the challenge. We can only hope that the tigger players have as little respect for the Paladins as the fans and media seem to have. I tend to believe that your coaches will prepare for the Paladins as if we were Kansas. After all, in this kind of contest, Missouri has everything to lose, and nothing to gain from a Furman victory; and Furman has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Please make sure the check doesn’t bounce.

    • Mr. Cheatham,

      This story was never meant to offend anyone. It was not to rip on Furman’s football team or the university. You have a unique nickname and we got some funny reaction from the players so I wrote a story about it… As for your beloved paladins, I understand they are a solid FCS team. However, if Missouri doesn’t win by three touchdowns or more, they have issues. The players and coaches are taking this one seriously. They’re mad that the Bowling Green game was so close and they are going to come out focused. Illinois saw a focused Mizzou team and they lost by four touchdowns. Barring a miracle Mr. Cheatham, this one’s over before we get to the fourth quarter.

      As for “The Zou,” I wrote a story on it recently. Scroll down the page a bit and that should provide some insight to the stadium’s nickname.

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