Da'Rick Rogers' numbers look 'pretty good on paper'

For Da'Rick Rogers, it's not only been special to notch 1,000 receiving yards in his sophomore season, but it's how he's arrived at this point with one game remaining in the regular season.

Following Saturday's 10-catch, 116-yard, two-touchdown performance against Vanderbilt, Rogers is in good position to inch closer to, tie or surpass a number of program records Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) at Kentucky.

He'll have his top quarterback, Tyler Bray, throwing passes his way against the Wildcats, but it was his perseverance through the tough times that came with Matt Simms and Justin Worley holding down the position during Bray's absence that make his cumulative totals all the more rewarding.

"With the struggles we've had," Rogers said, "it looks pretty good on paper."

The closest Rogers is to claiming a program record all to himself is in total receptions. At an SEC-best 65, which currently ranks sixth in UT history, he's 11 away from tying Marcus Nash, who set the record in 1997 with Peyton Manning hurling passes in his direction. Rogers could very well break the record Saturday, but a win over Kentucky would secure a second chance to do so in a bowl game.

"I just say, 'Hey coach, you've got to make sure I get 11 this week so I get to the top,' " Rogers said.

With 1,002 yards on the season, which is tied with Arkansas' Jarius Wright as the most in the SEC, Rogers is 296 yards away from tying Robert Meacham's mark of 1,298 set in 2006. He'd need just 168 yards to tie Nash for the second-highest total in a single season.

Rogers' nine touchdowns are tied for seventh-most in program history, and he'll need four more to tie Nash's single-season record of 13. One more 100-yard game would tie him with Nash and Joey Kent (1996) for the most in a single season with seven.

"That would be an honor, when you look back and see all the receivers that have through here," Rogers said. "This is Wide Receiver U, and just being able to put in a group with those names is crazy."

Rogers has picked up the bulk of his yards and catches without his best friend and teammate, Justin Hunter, who went out for the season with a knee injury early in the third game, opening up space and freeing him from double teams. It hasn't always been easy, as was displayed at times against Alabama (two catches, 32 yards) and South Carolina (four, 35), but Rogers said it's forced him to work harder to improve.

There hasn't been much time to worry about who's throwing him the ball.

"It made me open my game and work on a lot of things that I wasn't as good at before," Rogers said. "I really had to do a lot of things I wasn't doing before, and that really helped me as a player."

Bray Watch: After his second interception Saturday, Bray tossed away the glove he was wearing on his throwing hand and played the rest of the game in traditional, bare-handed fashion.

Asked after Tuesday's practice whether he'd give the handwear another shot Saturday, Bray shook his head.

"It was done after Saturday," he said.

Bray admitted that his thumb, which he broke last month against Georgia, was sore Sunday, but that was what he anticipated. He doesn't anticipate the lingering pain to be problematic when he makes his second consecutive start.

"I mean, it's always going to hurt," Bray said. "But it's something you just have to fight through and just go out there and try to contribute to the team."

Coach Derek Dooley said Bray was still rusty Tuesday and reiterated what he stressed all throughout last week.

Even though Bray started and finished UT's 27-21 win over Vanderbilt, the rehabilitation process is far from over.

"One week doesn't get that thumb back to where he was," Dooley said. "He'll get to where he is when he's 100 percent. We have to keep managing it and keep warming it up properly, stretching it and rehabbing it.

"Today he looked like about what he looked like in the game. Not a lot happened over the weekend."

Safety Dance: Injured safeties Brian Randolph (concussion) and Prentiss Waggner (shoulder) wore green, non-contact jerseys during the morning practice. Both players remain probable for Saturday.

"I don't think there's a guy that's totally 100-percent healthy out here," Waggner said. "You got all kind of guys that got nagging injuries, so this is pretty much a nagging injury."

Waggner said Randolph was in good spirits at practice. His teammates made sure of it by giving him a hard time about how he looked shortly after making the hit Saturday that left him with a mild concussion.

"When he came to the sideline, he asked how he hit (Alabama running back) Trent Richardson," Waggner said. "Izauea Lanier told him 'Hey dog, we're not even playing Alabama this week.' "

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 21

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

How much better will the Hunter-Rogers tandem be next year because of the adversity this year!? Throw in a Bray that is at 100% and things could get mighty interesting in 2012. And hey Randolph, don't let those guys fool you, it was a bigtime hit on Richardson.lol Looking forward to the future of UT football. GO VOLS!

born2ride writes:

Da'Rick has been the only bright spot in a dismal year.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Stay chill Da. Two more years. Start stacking Ws. Finish this season strong and next year you and J will light it freaking up...Out...

VolGrad writes:

Perhaps Randolph mentally projects "Trent Richardson" on whomever is coming up the field that he needs to tackle. Maybe that explains it. :D

Go Vols!

RemembertheAlamo writes:

DA'Rick looks really good in person, also. The two TD catches in the Vandy game should both be on the top ten list for the week. They both were big time catches. 2012 is going to be Fantastic. Go Vols. Beat the Cats. VFL!

VolMan126 writes:

I am taking my son to his first away game this week at Kenturky...should be fun! Also it will be great to see Hunter and Rogers on the field next season with Bray slinging the rock! We should be much better next year up front. I am looking forward to seeing what army boy can do with these kids in the off season. This guy is cutting edge with strength training! GO VOLS!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to NachoPappy_76:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL funny!

SummittsCourt writes:

Da'Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter and Tyler Bray are all NFL caliber players and the future (2012) looks bright for the Vols.

johnshanks writes:

Enough with the big head Da'Rick. You should be thinking I have two games to get MY numbers, not coach I need 11 this week. Selfish kid.

Digital5000 writes:

Da'Rick may be one of my personal favorite Vols of all time. Along with Jamal Lewis.

This dude can straight up ball.

It wasn't too long ago we had people on here talking about how overrated he is.

hahaha...THAT IS RICH!!!!!

-Enjoy Yoselves

volsfan74 writes:

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer I just hope Da'Rick does not get discouraged next year when he has to share the spot light with Hunter. Everything seemed okay this year before Hunter got injured I just hope that doesn't change. The Green Monster can show up when you feel like the ball isn't getting thrown to you etc. In the perfect world Hunter and Rogers catch about 75 to 80 passes and 1,200 plus yards each.

TNVolinTexas writes:

in response to volsfan74:

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer I just hope Da'Rick does not get discouraged next year when he has to share the spot light with Hunter. Everything seemed okay this year before Hunter got injured I just hope that doesn't change. The Green Monster can show up when you feel like the ball isn't getting thrown to you etc. In the perfect world Hunter and Rogers catch about 75 to 80 passes and 1,200 plus yards each.

I agree with you 100%. Da'Rick went from #2 to #1 and has had the chance to experience that feeling. Like you I hope he understands that there will be two very capable receivers on the field and will not get down when his numbers go down.

MemphisHog writes:

Was at the game against Arkansas in Fayetteville and was extremely impressed with Rogers. Our DBs could not contain him and I was grateful that the Vols didn't throw to him any more than they did. I think he could have caught 20 that night if given the opportunity. He is big-time and I know we will have our hands full with him next year in Knoxville.

Good luck this weekend with Kentucky.

CoverOrange writes:

Sounds like a Chuck Norris joke:

Brian Randolph hit Vandy so hard, Trent Richardson felt it.

givehim6 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Da'Rick has been the only bright spot in a dismal year.

So Bray, [when not injured] was no bright spot?

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to TNVolinTexas:

I agree with you 100%. Da'Rick went from #2 to #1 and has had the chance to experience that feeling. Like you I hope he understands that there will be two very capable receivers on the field and will not get down when his numbers go down.

Well, if the first couple games they played together this season is any indication, I don't think Rogers will be crying about how many balls are being thrown in his direction. They both had pretty impressive stats until Hunter was injured. When teams are forced into man coverage and can't double up on either receiver, it will open many opportunities for both to succeed. And hopefully that will allow us to improve our running stats as well (although I might be getting greedy at this point :-)).

givehim6 writes:

Da'Rick has been a blessing but I would feel better if 1 or 2 more targets besides Da'Rick could be used in the UK game. A running game would be nice also. So glad Bray is back, Hope the QB position will be good for UT next few years. Good luck to Vol Sat, Not too worried about UK. Sorry about misspelled words I am in Washigton State visting wifes family, no spell checker. I am asking for info on how to watch the UT-UK game out here.

AllVol1 writes:

Love the development of Da'Rick. Looking forward to the tandem of Da'Rick and Justin. It benefits them both. It will also help our running game, but it will not cure it. I still see three missing pieces: Bray needs to be able to read defenses and audible into better plays; our O-line is good at pass blocking but needs to improve in run blocking; we need a devoted running backs position coach to help our backs utilize what the blockers create and what the defenses give.

I see the potential and remain hopeful, AND we still have a lot of work to do to be in the mix next year.

trubleoj#657755 writes:

I am not trying to tear DR down but I am still haunted by his 3rd down drops against the no. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the country. You come to Knoxville to be the best and play the best. The best players catch the 6yd pass on 3rd and 4 that hits you in the belly in the first qtr at home against number 1 LSU regardless of who throws it. When down 7-0 on the road the best catch the 8yd pass on 3rd and 4 that goes through the hands (the ensuing punt got some sports center airtime for Joe Adams). One game left and then A LOT of work to become the best next year. I am pulling for you 21, make us proud. Be the best and demonstrate it against the best.

DarkGable writes:

in response to TNVolinTexas:

I agree with you 100%. Da'Rick went from #2 to #1 and has had the chance to experience that feeling. Like you I hope he understands that there will be two very capable receivers on the field and will not get down when his numbers go down.

You guys love to assume what you think might happen. You must be and expert on the human psyche.

DarkGable writes:

in response to trubleoj#657755:

I am not trying to tear DR down but I am still haunted by his 3rd down drops against the no. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the country. You come to Knoxville to be the best and play the best. The best players catch the 6yd pass on 3rd and 4 that hits you in the belly in the first qtr at home against number 1 LSU regardless of who throws it. When down 7-0 on the road the best catch the 8yd pass on 3rd and 4 that goes through the hands (the ensuing punt got some sports center airtime for Joe Adams). One game left and then A LOT of work to become the best next year. I am pulling for you 21, make us proud. Be the best and demonstrate it against the best.

You must be some expert, to be able to critique DR about how to catch short bullet passes. From your wisdom, you obviously play for a Div.I football team and catch 6 yard passes on 3rd and 4 on a weekly basis alongside him. Oh you don't.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features