BATON ROUGE, La. -- A good fullback deserves a good nickname, and you won't find one much better than that of LSU's Connor Neighbors: Bone Saw.
For those unfamiliar with superhero movies, Bone Saw was a character played by the professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage in "Spider-Man" starring Tobey Maguire. In their scene, Maguire's character used his Spidey powers to beat Savage's character in a wrestling match to the dismay of Bone Saw's many rabid fans gathered around the ring. (To get a better visual, find it on YouTube.)
"If you see the scene, it's pretty intense," said Neighbors, LSU's senior fullback. "This guy's talking a lot of smack to Spider-Man and the people in the stands have got makeshift saws and they're [acting like they are sawing their forearms]."
Fullbacks are often an unusual breed, but Neighbors seems particularly different from the normal SEC football player. He played ice hockey growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, until his junior year of high school. He said he listens to Limp Bizkit as his hype music before games. And he's currently sporting a shaved head and a mountain man beard to "just express myself in a different way."
A guy like that needs a good nickname, so it was fortunate he gained a little inspiration from the Macho Man several years back.
Neighbors started jokingly going by the nickname around friends such as Zach Mettenberger and Sam Montgomery during his freshman year, and it eventually made its way to the Tigers' strength and conditioning staff. One day Neighbors celebrated a particularly satisfying achievement in the weight room by doing the fans' sawing "Bone Saw" hand motion and the nickname spread to the point that it's now what he goes by among teammates.
"One day we were maxing out in the weight room and I was attempting 364 [pounds] on power cleans, so I did it and I dropped down and almost dropped the bar completely," Neighbors said. "But somehow I got my form back and I lifted it up and I [sawed my forearm], like the whole Bone Saw thing, and it just kind of stuck."
Not that it always feels like a positive thing -- for instance, when a teammate drops the nickname around a member of the opposite sex.
"When we're out and about and people say that, girls look at me like, 'What does that mean?' I'm just like, 'Uh, my name's Connor,'" Neighbors laughed.
Apparently when your nickname is Bone Saw, you can't choose when it applies. You're Bone Saw 24/7, for better or worse. Might as well make the best of it.
"I didn't think that it would get out to the media, but since it has, I'll embrace it," Neighbors said. "I like it a lot."
He joked that some LSU fans could even take the nickname to the next level, perhaps mimicking the fans surrounding the wrestling ring with signs and homemade cardboard saws during the movie scene.
"That'd be great," Neighbors said. "In the movie, the 'Macho Man' Randy Savage says, 'I've got you for three minutes. Three minutes of play time.' You've got to look it up. He's just talking smack the whole time. I guess people could just make signs or something, get the saws, I don't know."
In other words, get creative. When the subject is a guy who goes by Bone Saw, the possibilities are seemingly endless -- especially within the nutty confines of Tiger Stadium.