Just call him Teez. Jalen Tabor might have a new name on the roster, but his attitude and drive has not changed. In a recent months, however, Tabor has a new role. The Florida cornerback has not only stepped into a new leadership role due to his experience, but he has also stepped into the spotlight as a vocal member of the team.
Tabor is not shy of expressing his opinion on social media and during interviews. He has also not been scared to share his opinion and thoughts on SEC rivals, Tennessee-especially after some pick the Vols to win the SEC East.
“You guys pick them,” Tabor said in a recent radio interview with Paul Finnebaum. “I don’t see how. I know I’m a player, but I really don’t see it. I know we have a lot of talent and we have a lot of great coaches. I feel like to get the East and the SEC Championship you have to come through The Swamp and the Florida Gators, and it’s been that way since the beginning of the SEC... the same thing has been happening for 11 years. The greatest indication of the future is the past.”
UF head coach Jim McElwain isn't too worried about Tabor's trash talking.
"I love the guy," said McElwain. "He's a guy who cares. He's a guy who has really invested in himself. I think he's grown up immensely as far as how he's going about his business."
"It's all really fun and games," added Tabor. Everyone else gets all up and heated, but it's all fun and games to me. I just go out there and play the game. It adds a little juice to the game, but it's all fun and games to me. I just go out there and play ball."
Tabor admits he sometimes likes to trash talk his opponents during games just to get him revved up for the game.
"Sometimes I get a little lax and I have to talk myself up," he said. "It's not even about who I'm talking about. It's more about hyping myself out."
In the end McElwain is not worried about what is being spoken, but what is being done by his cornerback.
"The guy plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played, whether he talks or has conversations, I would imagine there are a lot of games where there is talk and conversations. I would not pin Teez down in that way," said McElwain. "He is a confident guy. That’s the way he goes about his business.
"If he believes the psychological warfare of talk is what helps him win, I guess more power to him, but I will tell you this, and don’t ever forget this: Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you say. So ultimately the action is what you should be thinking about, not what’s you’re saying."
His actions are exactly what Tabor is focused on as he ventures into practice everyday.
"Being the older guy, if they watch and watch what I do, and if I come out lax, its a trickle effect. I'm trying to step up into a leader role," he said. "It's harder role because you always have to be on your game because you always have people watching you."