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