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What’s in a nickname?
Question of the Day
Maryland defensive tackle Dre Moore sat at his locker last week amused at a question that permitted him to unleash his usual mischievousness.
He searched his mind for nicknames of his teammates, eventually coming up with one he blurted out with pride.
There’s plenty about a locker room culture outsiders never see or hear about, often under the guise of keeping things in the family. But when many Terps players were asked about teammates’ nicknames, there was no shortage of eagerness to spill secrets.
Some come from physical similarities (lineman Lamar Young and singer Sean Kingston and wide receiver LaQuan Williams and rapper Andre 3000 were among the pairings). Others are just abbreviations or a play on a name, such as right tackle Dane Randolph — aka “Great Dane.”
Amid the craziness of the locker room, names eventually stick and become as ingrained in the environment as football itself.
“That’s basically our names for each other,” senior safety Christian Varner said. “I call [Isaiah Gardner] ‘Zeke.’ I call [Kevin Barnes] ‘Deuce.’ They call me ‘Bam-Bam.’ We call Erin [Henderson] ‘Easy.’ We all refer to each other by those names. We don’t call each other by our real names.”
Some nicknames stick better than others. Keon Lattimore’s efficient “K-Latt” is part of a tattoo on his arm. Varner, whose “Bam-Bam” moniker came up most frequently in a canvassing of the locker room, has both the name and “The Flintstones” character tattooed on his right shoulder.
It helps, too, when a player comes up with his own nickname. Linebacker Moise Fokou was identified several times as “The Fook,” while fullback Steven Pfister insisted his nickname was “Xerxes.” (For the record, no one else likened him to a heroic Persian king.)
Several players have more than one alternate name, with wideout Danny Oquendo and linebacker Chase Bullock among the best at acquiring multiple monikers. One teammate identified tailback Morgan Green as “CB4,” but the redshirt freshman offered up “Jail Cell” as a possibility.
“Because I look like I just got out of prison,” Green said slyly.
Then there’s center Edwin Williams, who picked up a nickname from guard Andrew Crummey. Sure enough, the first person Crummey thought of was “Black Ice,” coined in honor of the 6-foot-2, 326-pound junior center.
Williams embraced the name further when he got a black shirt he described as “very shiny, icy.”
“Oh yeah, it’s a very great name,” Williams said proudly. “ ’Black Ice.’ It personifies me. It’s beautiful.”
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