Tigers You Thought You Knew
You have heard of a no-name defense, but this Missouri Tiger team is more of a nickname defense, or even a middle name defense. Just when you thought you knew them, here is a bit of an Oliver Twist.
The MU defense makes big plays, gives quarterbacks nightmares, and coaches coronaries. They know the name of the game, but do they know each other's names?
Oliver?," said Pig Brown, strong safety.
"I don't know who Oliver is man," Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver, said.
"I don't know who Joseph is," said Brown. I don't know anybody named Franklin. I really don't know," said defensive lineman Ziggy Hood.
"Can't tell you who Franklin is either," Maclin said.
Even their teammates don't know their real names. The nicknames include the favorite pig in Missouri, senior safety Pig Brown. "My real name is Cornelius Dawson Brown III," Brown said, "I've had that name since I was a little kid. I was young and ate all the time. I was sloppy and just nasty as a little kid and ever since I was a little kid my mom gave me that nickname and it just stuck with me."
"I was like, is that your real name? Did your parents name you that? And he's like my first name is Cornelius. That's crazy too. I didn't expect that one either," said Lorenzo Williams, defensive lineman. He "told me his name was Cornelius. So, Cornelius or Pig? Obviously you want to be called Pig."
Pig is not alone with a hidden identity. These Tigers are modern day Clark Kent's.
"My name is Evander Jermel Hood," said Ziggy Hood.
"My real name is Joseph Stryker Sulak," Joseph Sulak, defensive lineman, said.
"Franklin Desaun Weatherspoon," said Sean Weatherspoon, linebacker.
"Oliver Lorenzo Williams III," said Williams.
Oliver, Franklin, Joseph and Evander are all Tigers who play in the cover of code names.
"My grandma couldn't say my name when my mom was trying to explain it to her that my name was going to be Evander. So her favorite character back then was Ziggy, a little cartoon character and so they gave me that name," said Hood.
"Kindergarten is when my teacher called me my middle name so that's just what everybody kept calling me. Pretty much people only call me by my first name when I'm in trouble back home," said Sulak.
Weatherspoon said, "I am named after my grandfather, which I'm very proud of. His name was Franklin, Frank. It never really stuck with me, so I've never had anybody call me Franklin."
"I went to kindergarten for the first timeand my teacher, Miss Short, I'll never forget this, she said is Oliver Williams here? And I was looking around like who is that guy?" Williams said.
Don't try any name-calling. They mean business when it comes to their monikers.
"Everyone out there can call me Pig Brown," said Brown.
"You can call me Zigg," said Hood.
"You can call my Stryker," said Sulak.
"You can just call me Sean," said Weatherspoon.
"You can call me Zo," said Williams.
Whatever name they go by, they would rather you talk about the word on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.
"We don't want to be this person's defense or that person's defense, we want to be a defense. We just want to be enthusiastic and have fun out there," said Williams.
"I like it the way it is. That is a good thing to me. A no name defense. We've got a lot of blue collar guys out there trying to achieve one goal," said Weatherspoon.
The Tigers have some other interesting names on the roster: Castine, Scipio, and Forrest. Whatever happened to something simple, like Chris?
The Tiger players, by whatever names you know them, play their home opener Saturday afternoon at 1 P.M. at Faurot Field against Western Michigan. The Broncos are 0-2 after losses to West Virginia and Indiana.