KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — All offseason, Tennessee avoided trading Twitter barbs with Florida players — especially the chatty Jalen Tabor.
The Gators All-American cornerback teased Tennessee about last season’s fourth-quarter collapse. He guaranteed UF would extend its 11-game winning streak and joked “close only works in horseshoes.”
The Volunteers have opted to ignore Florida’s trash talk … until Tuesday.
While defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie didn’t deliver any bulletin board material back to the Gators, the sophomore responded to all of UF’s banter by saying, “(Quotes) aren’t posted anywhere, but we all know what they have to say. Come 3:30 on Saturday, it’s all about that action. That’s it.”
Tennessee hasn’t played particularly well in 2016, but there’s a quiet confidence around the football facility this week. The players believe Team120 can end the historic losing streak.
“Everybody knows how we felt after that game,” McKenzie said, alluding to Florida’s fourth-quarter rally in Gainesville last season.
“We don’t want that feeling again.”
During the streak, the Volunteers have lost to the Gators three times by a single point.
There’s no excuses this year, though. Tennessee — the preseason pick to win the SEC East — is a touchdown favorite at home going against a backup quarterback for the third time in four years in the series.
While they’re not focusing on the streak, they admit they’re ready to end it.
“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t think about it,” redshirt junior defensive tackle Kendall Vickers said.
“We know it’s Florida. We know we’re rivals. We really don’t like each other, so that kind of makes it fun when you get on the field and compete and try to end that streak.”