Nashville — Fifth-year senior Leon Orr made a decision on Saturday, one that will affect him the rest of his life.
“He left our football team on game day,” Will Muschamp said about Orr.
Orr had not started a game for the Gators since Florida traveled to Alabama earlier in the season. Moving Jon Bullard down inside and sliding Darious Cummings over to nose tackle has made the defensive line more athletic, something Muschamp favors.
Orr has grown impatient and was obviously upset that he was no longer starting on the defense. When Orr was informed that he would not start against Vanderbilt, but that he would still have a big role in the defensive line rotation, he made a decision.
A selfish one.
“He hadn’t started all week in practice. He came to me and didn’t understand why he wasn’t starting. Said he was going to go home. That was his decision,” Muschamp said of his interaction with Orr. “I said, ‘If you go home, you’re done. You’re not a Florida Gator anymore.’ I appreciate Leon and his contributions to our football program. He felt like he should have been starting. I thought we’ve been productive with the four guys that have been starting.”
Orr chose to board a bus, leaving his teammates mere hours before they were to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores and continue playing for their SEC lives.
It left Muschamp in the awkward position of having to go in front of his team as they ate pre-game meal and explain to them why one of their own had deserted them.
Orr played 37 games during his Gator career including 10 starts (two this season). He’ll finish his career with 61 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Muschamp has worked hard since taking over as the head coach of the Florida Gators to change the image of the program. He’s cleaned up off the field issues but this kind of selfishness is something he can’t and won’t tolerate.
“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “Guys aren’t going to put themselves above the team. Not here.”