Trash talk Tennessee? No problem, McElwain has Tabor's back
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida CB Teez Tabor, the cornerback formerly known as Jalen Tabor, went on “The Paul Finebaum Show” last week and riled up Tennessee fans by predicting the Gators would make it 12 in a row over the Volunteers.
At a Friday press conference, a reporter asked coach Jim McElwain if it makes him cringe when Tabor, always unfiltered, speaks his mind in the media.
“I love the guy,” McElwain said. “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. I guess you gotta tell me what he did now.”
When the reporter explained the Tennessee comments, McElwain didn’t shy away from having Tabor’s back.
“We don’t play them until (Week) 4, so I don’t even know why we’re talking about it. And yet, he got asked and probably answered it,” McElwain said. “Here’s the beauty of that: the pure honesty in the way somebody thinks. I like the aggressive attitude. In fact, I wish our whole team in some spots had that same self-confidence based on their work.
“And he’s put in the work. … And so, look, it will make for a good read, it will give you guys something to write about.”
While other coaches ban or limit social media or discourage players from speaking out, Tabor isn’t surprised that McElwain has his back. McElwain, Tabor says, makes everything about his players. That motivates the star cornerback on the field.
“So that doesn’t surprise me. That just makes me want to go hard for him even more,” Tabor said. “He’s got my back and when I get out there on the field, I got his back 100 percent.”
It’s clear to Tabor and McElwain that all the offseason talk is just that – talk.
“It’s all really fun and games to me,” Tabor said. “Everybody else gets a little hyped up and heated. It’s all fun and games to me. I just go out there and play ball. It adds a little bit of juice to the game, but it’s really just fun and games. I guess opposing teams, and media, they take it way (too) seriously.”
McElwain isn’t going to sweat Tabor’s fun and games.
“I’m sure they’ll put (Tabor’s comments) up and blast it all over the world. Way to go,” McElwain said. “There’s a pretty good chance we’ll show up in Knoxville.”