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Florida Football

Former Player Feedback: Tabor feels the tide turning

May 28, 2018
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As the Florida Gators players prepare for the fall, we look back over the spring practices and Orange and Blue Game with former players as each recaps what he saw from his respective position unit.

Jalen “Teez” Tabor was a cornerback at the University of Florida from 2014-2016 during which time he, along with Quincy Wilson, formed one of the best cornerback duos in the country. During his Gator career, Tabor totaled 104 tackles and nine interceptions including three returned for a touchdown. He was known for being one of the most energetic and talented guys on a secondary loaded with future NFL players. Because of that energy and understanding of the game, he’s excited about what he saw with the defensive backs and the Gator program following spring ball.

What was just your overall impression of the secondary and the strides they’d made after spring practice?

"I had a really good impression…they got a lot of special players in the backend: Marco [Wilson], CJ [Henderson], Chauncey [Gardner-Johnson], it’s a lot of talent back there. We had a lot of talent but those guys are really talented as well.

"I feel like they’re playing more—when you get into your second year of anything it’s a jump. I feel like those guys get more confident. They already got their first year under the belt and even though they’re talented, now it’s like they belong there. It’s kinda like they’re taking over. They’re playing confident, faster. I never thought it would get better from when me, Quincy [Wilson], [Brian] Poole, KeKe [Keanu Neal], [Marcus] Maye, Duke [Dawson], all them were there but those guys they got in there now, that’s something special."

"I feel like if Mullen just keeps doing what he’s doing, the tide is gonna change back in the SEC."
- Teez Tabor

What about the cornerbacks—Marco Wilson and CJ Henderson in particular?

"Those guys, I see so much of me and Quincy in those guys. I feel like they’re a little bit better than we were at that point in our careers."

What will moving Gardner-Johnson to nickel do to help him?

"I like that move for him. I feel like it fits his skill set; really fast guy, really strong guy, can tackle. I feel like that’s his natural position, his knack. Just being the great football player he is, I feel like that’s his natural position."

We didn’t get to see much of Jawaan Taylor during spring as he was injured, so what can we expect?

"Wanny T, that’s my guy. Real big, physical guy. Has battled through some injuries but definitely a talented player. I seen him when he was young but now just watching him last year and watching him grow, going on his junior year I expect a lot of big things from him and everybody else in the secondary."

What can we expect from the secondary this fall?

"I think you can expect greatness. It’s been lined up for those guys. Those guys know the expectations of playing DB at University of Florida just like we did when we were there. they know it’s a high standard there and they’re gonna live up to it. They’re talented guys, they’re having fun, it’s just a whole lot of talent back there so can’t expect nothing but greatness from the secondary."

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F-Club Series: Former Player Feedback

QB - Johnson believes Trask should start

WR - Receivers need to help young quarterbacks

TE - Casey sees potential in tight ends

OL - Story impressed with Mullen

RB - Ackerman sees a deep, talented group

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Was there anything in particular that stood out as being different with the players? Such as something that has changed just with this coaching staff?

"The swag. We were kinda like held back when it came to like swag and having fun and stuff like that. But I feel like that has a lot to do with the new coach, he’s bringing in more juice to the program, which I feel like at the University of Florida, that’s what it’s about, having a lot of juice. I feel like that’s one thing I noticed. Those guys celebrating after touchdowns, after interceptions they just, it’s a lot of juice around the program. They having a lot more fun now."

How much of a difference does that really make on the field?

"It makes a big difference. Some guys, everybody’s different in the way they play. I’m more energetic and stuff like that but KeKe was more quiet; a great player but it’s just two different styles. With the juice, I feel like juice effects everybody, it’s contagious when it spreads like wildfire and lights the whole team. I love what Coach [Dan] Mullen’s doing with the program right now."

Speaking of, what was it like being back around this program under Mullen?

"I noticed a big difference just being back at the Orange and Blue game. The first thing I realized is I miss it a whole lot. Just a period and time in your life when you ain’t gonna be able to get that back and just going back, walking through the tunnel, I really miss those days.

"But just connecting with guys like I’ve never seen before like Percy Harvin who was Mercy [Percy], Major Wright. Guys that I grew up watching, those guys are the reason I wanted to come to University of Florida and then that was my first time ever seeing them, ever meeting them so he got everybody coming back now and getting juice around the program.

"You see programs like Alabama, those guys are always at the games. Those guys are always back in Tuscaloosa. You look at Florida State, you see [Jalen] Ramsey, you see Jameis [Winston] everybody’s always back and I feel like Florida for some odd reason, nobody ever really comes back. But I feel like that helps the players there now, that helps the recruiting when you see former players there, that’s just a plus for the whole program."

Did you not have that while at Florida?

"I mean it was a couple, the guys that normally come back around but not like it was at the Orange and Blue game. I feel like that’s the most former players I’ve ever seen back at one point in time."

How does it help the program?

"I think when you bring back the older players, those guys get to see a guy like them and what they want to be. It’s big role models. A lot of those guys—Joe Haden, Janoris Jenkins, those guys are the reason I went to the University of Florida—and those guys in the NFL, it’s like ok that’s what I want to do. So by bringing us back you’re giving the kids a visual image of what they want to be and they’re seeing it first hand so it’s giving them a little bit more inspiration, a little bit more drive to get to where they want to go. Then if you got recruits there, that’s even better cause they’re looking up to the players that’s there now then looking at the NFL players like man. University of Florida, we have a lot of NFL players and you bring in recruits they see that and like this where I want to go and I feel like if Mullen just keeps doing what he’s doing, the tide is gonna change back in the SEC."

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Stay tuned to Inside the Gators for the remaining F-Club series as we talk to more former players about their respective units following spring practice.

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Inside the Gators F-Club Positional Breakdown series isn't associated with the official University of Florida F-Club

Former Player Feedback: Tabor feels the tide turning

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