In a bit of bizarre news, Will Muschamp announced in the wake of Florida’s 34-10 throttling of Vanderbilt that he has kicked defensive tackle Leon Orr off the team because he was more concerned with starting that being a part of the team.
The story goes like this.
Orr, who had not started since the Alabama game back in September, was upset that he wasn’t starting against Vanderbilt. He went to Muschamp and complained; Muschamp held his ground (as you’d expect any head coach to do). Orr countered by saying he was going to leave, and Muschamp told him that if he left- meaning leave his football team on game day and just go home- he was done. Orr stuck with his decision and Muschamp stuck with his promise; the bus ticket he bought for Orr was the final accommodation Orr will ever receive as a University of Florida student athlete. He is now off the football team.
UPDATE 12:15pm Monday: Muschamp said that there is no chance that Orr returns. Muschamp added that “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life before.” No chance of reconciliation.
It’s a sad little piece of information that takes away from what was quietly one of Florida’s best performances of the year. After struggling early, Florida played really, really well against a Vanderbilt team that played Missouri much closer than the Gators did, and blew them out. The offense wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough, and even though Muschamp made a couple of questionable coaching decisions, I thought he generally coached a very good game.
To sum that up, last night should have been wholly dedicated to celebrating a solid win. Florida played hard and executed well. They’ve eclipsed last season’s win total, and they’re one win away from bowl eligibility. They’ve avenged a heartbreaking defeat and an embarrassing defeat from a year ago in back to back weeks. And somehow, they’re still in that division race. Those things are what should be the focus immediately after a win like this, but thanks to Orr having the emotional stability of a 12 year old girl, it’s not- and now we have something ugly to have to think about in the wake of a Gator victory when that victory is all we should be thinking about.
On another note, it’s a perfect example of the petulance, arrogance and me-first attitude that Muschamp has made clear he will not stand for. I criticize Muschamp a lot, but in this case, good for him. I hate to use this word unless it’s absolutely applicable, and I think in this case it is: he eliminated a cancer last night. And as this team goes forward with bright aspirations, I’m glad to know somebody who only cared about himself will not be part of it.