Will Muschamp sends DT Leon Orr home on bus, says player is “not a Florida Gator anymore”

By Adam Silverstein
November 8, 2014

Minutes before the Florida Gators squared off against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday evening, Florida head coach Will Muschamp announced via a school release that redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr had been sent home from Nashville, Tennessee, on a bus. Later, he explained that Orr is now off the team after giving up on his coaches and teammates on game day.

“Leon hasn’t started since the Alabama game. He hadn’t started all week in practice. Came to me [Saturday] and didn’t understand why he wasn’t starting, said he was going to go home. That was his decision. I said, ‘You go home, you’re done. You’re not a Florida Gator anymore,'” Muschamp explained after Florida’s 34-10 win over Vanderbilt.

Asked to clarify whether that meant Orr was dismissed from the Gators for good, Muschamp continued.

“Yes, he is. Exactly. He left [Saturday]. He left our football team on game day.”

A fifth-year lineman who started 8-of-12 games in 2013 and played in 33 contests during his first three years at Florida, Orr was expected to be a stalwart in the middle for the Gators this season. Instead, he only started two contests – the season-opener against Eastern Michigan and UF’s road game at Alabama – and missed a couple mid-season games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.

Informed by Muschamp after game walk-through that he would not be starting Saturday’s contest but rather be inserted on the second series and remain heavily involved in the game, Orr apparently got upset gave Muschamp an ultimatum.

“He said he wanted to start and he was leaving if it wasn’t starting,” Muschamp explained. “That’s fine.”

Orr did not seem phased by the decision, which will undoubtedly affect his future as a professional, as he casually live-tweeted his bus ride back to Gainesville, Florida, while the game was ongoing. He then posted the following on Instagram at approximately 1:19 a.m.: “At the end of the day ppl make mistakes we all human , I love my team and I love the #GatorNation ! Goodnight.”

Senior Darious Cummings will continue to be the Gators’ starter at nose tackle, while junior Jonathan Bullard – a defensive end who plays both positions – will replace Orr on the interior. Cummings has eight starts on the year, and Bullard started the seven games Orr did not this season.

“I appreciate Leon and his contributions to our football program,” said Muschamp. “He felt like he should be started; I think we’ve been very productive with the four guys that have been starting.”

He later continued: “We’re more athletic with Jon Bullard inside. I like the production of the guys we have inside … I asked those four guys who’s better. They all thought they were better. That’s the way it goes.

“Guys aren’t going to put themselves above the team. Not here.”

14 Comments

  1. Just Want A Change says:

    Adam, in today’s game with so much rotation, why would he be so upset about not “starting”? Is there more to this? He’s played a good bit. Why would being the “starter” be that important to him to cause a scene before the game?

      • Champ_Supporter says:

        Just weird to me for someone who hasn’t started for weeks and doesn’t get 1st team reps during practice to say, coach why am I not starting. I appreciate Leon’s passion, but come on, he played. Why is he complaining? I am not trying to pass judgement on a young man, but the situation seems pretty selfish. I read comments from another article on this situation and man folks are bashing Muschamp for “giving up” on a kid. I think that’s a little far fetched. Adam, has Muschamp done a lot to try to mold these guys beyond football. Didn’t you do a piece about the Beyond Football program he does?

        I know it’s probably bad, but my last memory of Orr is the failed fake punt against South Carolina! Whoops!

        • Michael Jones says:

          That’s because this is the age of leniency. Nobody is supposed to be accountable for their actions, especially if their actions are bad. That’s always somebody else’s fault.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        sounds like jock ego to me

        • Bill says:

          Sounds like we haven’t got the full sotry

          • Michael Jones says:

            Maybe we do and maybe we don’t, but nothing about the article “sounds” like we haven’t got the full story. It sounds like Orr screwed up and Muschamp had no other choice.

  2. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Anyone who says coach “Gives up” on players is an idiot. My God, look how long he hung in with driskel as starter (waaaaaay too long) and still hasn’t given up as evidenced yesterday by the last series before Treon ran in his second rushing score, where he used JD who blew a pass to a wide open receiver (a better team would have had a pick 6). He supports players to his detriment and stubbornly thinks he can change them. That has been his downfall with the past offenses.

  3. Gatoralum88 says:

    I wonder what part of “Jonathan Bullard is better” he didn’t understand? While it hurts the D-line depth, I think Muschamp is right in this case. It’s too bad Orr didn’t come to his senses. Taking a bus from Nashville?…I’ll bet the team flight made it back to Gainesville before he did.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      If they put him on a greyhound, he may still be en route, that distance is about 24 hours with all the stops they make!

  4. G8R8U2 says:

    It’s unfortunate, but players don’t dictate or give ultimatums to coaches; simple as that.

    Just like Muschamp said, he was putting himself above and before the team, and trying to blackmail his way to a starting position.

    “I’m starting or leaving.”. Muschamp called his bluff, and Orr dismissed himself from the team.

  5. Rami says:

    This is why I am a huge Muschamp supporter. As a lifelong Gator fan, UF alum and Gator Booster going on 3 decades, I am most proud of how Coach has consistently made it clear from the day he stepped on campus that NO ONE is bigger than the program …. Look how many of Urban’s “great recruits” thugs left the programs in Champ’s first two years … Orr’s case is no different … Alls you have to do is look to the school out west and ask yourself would you rather be a program that wins at all cost with a bunch of boys that think they’re bigger than the program or the law for that matter or would u rather have a coach who puts his arms around these boys and tells them it’s not about you anymore. He teaches them by example that a real man knows, plays and lives his life knowing its about the team and living bigger than himself !! I realize at the end of the day it’s also about winning and winning big at UF …. and for that I totally trust the BEST AD in America to make the right decision for UF’s football program at the end of the season !!! It’s great to be a Florida Gator! Go Gators!

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