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.
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.”