Inside the huddle
20 questions with Tigers team captain Jaron Baston
Senior defensive lineman Jaron Baston plows through practice dummies on his way to the quarterback in a preseason practice. Baston was selected as one of Mizzou's four team captains by his teammates.
Gearing up for the Sept. 5 opening-day game against Illinois, Mizzou Wire talks with Tigers football captains about the game, the team and what makes them tick. Check back Friday for the next installment.
- defensive line
- 6 feet, 1 inch; 305 pounds
- full player bio
On the field
1. When and why did you decide to start playing football? My mom got me into it when I was in eighth grade. I played when I was in fifth or sixth grade, but I quit it because of the workouts. I came back and liked it a lot. Then in high school things were pretty good, so I got to Mizzou.
2. Do you remember stepping out onto Faurot Field for the first time? It was against Murray State. It was a night game, and there were a lot of people. I only got, like, three plays a quarter, but I got the feeling. I remember it like it was yesterday.
3. What has been your favorite playing moment so far? It had to be the sack against Nebraska. It was 80,000 people in a big-time game. It was my first career sack, so it was just a really special moment for me.
4. When you're out in public, do you ever get looks? Yeah, man. All the time. You walk around here, go out to bars and clubs, and people are always looking at you trying to figure out who you are. You might go out of town and people are looking there, too. It just comes with the territory, though.
5. What are your goals for the team this season? To be successful and have a winning season — hopefully to go undefeated, hopefully to win a Big 12 Championship. I say "hopefully" just because we still have to prepare and take it one game at a time. But if we continue to do what we're doing now, we'll be fine.
6. How did it feel when you found out that you were named team captain? It felt great. Your teammates pick it for you, so those guys believe in you. Everybody's going to have disagreements, but at the end of the day, to know your teammates depend on you, to know in the fourth quarter of games they depend on you, it's special.
7. In practice, you spend a lot of time helping and working with the younger guys on the line. Is mentoring new players something you enjoy? Mentoring means a lot. They're the future of this university, so if I can help them learn some of the things I've learned from past guys, like Ziggy Hood or Lorenzo Williams, it makes the university better as a whole. I want to continue that tradition because it means a lot to me.
8. Mizzou class/professor: Dr. [Robert] Torres. Learning strategies. It dealt with life and leadership, so it was one I really liked a lot because of the real-world lessons.
9. Thing to do outside of football: Just relax. I like to watch some football, NFL games. Favorite team? The Chiefs, by far. I'm from Kansas City. That's my team all the way. They had some trouble on the line last season. Could you help them out? Send out the message! I hope they hear it.
11. Pregame music: It's a mix tape, but I like to listen to a lot of laid-back music like the Isley Brothers and stuff like that. Right before I go out, I start listening to any kind of upbeat hip-hop or crunk music, whatever you call it, just to get my head right.
12. Post-game celebration: I like to go out and have a good time with my friends. Celebrate and be around the fans, having a good time. I like to take that one day and celebrate with the city of Columbia.
13. Mizzou tradition: After the game, the fight song. We run over and sing it with the fans. It's the ultimate topping on the cake. You know you've won the game, so you can exhale and enjoy all the hard work you put in to it.
14. Who's the best lineman you've gone against while at Mizzou? I'll just say for right now Tim Barnes is probably the best. He's a solid dude. Real quick, real strong, and he makes me a better player and work harder. He pushes me a lot and is going to be a pretty good player
15. What player have you learned the most from? Again, guys like Ziggy [Hood] and Zo [Lorenzo Williams], who really helped me out when I was young.
16. If you could play another position on the team, where would you go? I'd play quarterback like Blaine Gabbert. I'd be the man. My completions would be 100 percent. I'd probably have 100 yards rushing and wouldn't take any sacks, either. It's just the ultimate position, the one everybody looks at. If you're good, you get to reap the benefits, but if you're bad, it's going to be a bad day for you. I like the pressure it puts on you.
17. Who's the strongest on the team? I think it's me, but I kind of have to take a step back and say Sean Weatherspoon. That dude is a beast in the weight room. Squats, bench press. That guy is pretty strong.
18. In an eating contest, who wins? The big hogs, man. I don't know which one can eat more than the others, but for now I'll go with Big Kurtis [Gregory] the veteran. Gregory, walking by: No, Tim [Barnes] eats the most! Baston: I'll take it from Kurtis Gregory. Tim eats the most.
19. Who's the best at video games? Jared Perry, by far. Other than football, that's his life. All the time I hear him talking about how he's going to go home and play Call of Duty, or whatever that shooting game is. He always beats me at NCAA [Football] and UFC, so I have to give it to him.
20. Who's your favorite guy to hang out with outside of football? Basically, I just hang out with a lot of my teammates: Sean [Weatherspoon] a lot, K-Rut [Kevin Rutland], Danario [Alexander], Gil (Gilbert Moye), Andy Maples — guys I'm real close with and have personal relationships with off the field. We're all a special group of guys.