The Florida Gators can talk all the trash they want. Tennessee’s head coach won’t use it as motivation for his team.
Butch Jones spoke to the media for his weekly press conference on Monday, and he was asked a bevy of questions about the Florida Gators. One question was about all the trash talking the Gators have done both this offseason and what has already happened this week.
“First of all, you shouldn’t need that to motivate you,” Jones replied. “If you’re a true competitor and you have that true competitive grit we talk about, these are the games you want to play in.
“We don’t use that for motivation. I’m just working to get better. It doesn’t do us any good to talk about it.”
Jones went on to emphasize that paying attention to Florida’s trash talk doesn’t do his team any good. Instead of focusing on what their opponent is saying, Jones would rather his players focus on improving themselves.
“Half these kids have no idea about this,” Jones stated. “(Guys like) Baylen Buchanan doesn’t need to know about 11 years. He just needs to work on getting better. We can’t have any clutter or distractions. We’re playing the champions of our side, so we have to do everything we can to prepare.”
One of the most vocal trash talkers on Florida’s roster has been cornerback Jalen Tabor. Even though Tabor didn’t play in last year’s game because of a suspension for violation of team rules, he’s been the leader for the Gators when it comes to trash talking. But when Butch Jones was asked about him, he offered up only praise for the junior cornerback.
“Tabor is very, very explosive,” Jones said. “He has great, great confidence. Same thing with (cornerback) Quincy Wilson. They can find the ball in the blind spot. They have very good coverage techniques. They’re very, very disciplined, and they’re high-caliber NFL defensive backs.”
So if you expect the Vols to fire back in response to Florida’s trash talk, don’t. Butch Jones doesn’t plan on using any of what the Gators are saying as extra motivation for an already heated rivalry. All he wants is for his team to focus on themselves and work on improving their play.