Mike Strange: Was the reward Rogers offered Vols worth the risk?

Mike Strange
Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers looks on during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers looks on during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Derek Dooley said one thing Thursday I agree with 100 percent.

I would hate to have my livelihood depend on the decision-making capacity of 85 college guys.

Dooley referred to it as the "No. 1 professional hazard" in coaching. Now, we wait to see how hazardous Da'Rick Rogers' latest and apparently last episode is to Dooley's career.

Turning the calendar back 2 1/2 years I wonder if Dooley and/or his staff spotted any red flags when they were recruiting Rogers out of Georgia — and away from his commitment to Mark Richt's Bulldogs.

Rogers has been one productive but volatile Vol. Sometimes that's the bargain with elite prospects.

More often than not, I'd bet coaches are willing to roll the dice on a gifted athlete with potential issues if he projects to be a difference-maker. High reward vs. high risk.

In the recruiting business, only a couple dozen prospects per year are awarded a five-star ranking. Virtually everyone drools over them.

I'm certainly not painting the bluest of the blue-chippers with one broad brush. Plenty have turned out to be good citizens and scholars who only created mayhem between the white lines on Saturdays.

But consider the exploits of several recent five-star headliners.

Ohio State took a chance on Terrelle Pryor. The Buckeyes won a Rose Bowl before Jim Tressel had to walk the plank. Michael Dyer helped Auburn win a national championship before trouble cropped up. Isaiah Crowell helped Georgia get to the SEC championship game last year before wearing out his welcome.

The Vols don't haul in the five-star guys like they once did. And they've gained little tangible reward from the ones they did land.

In 2009, Bryce Brown and Janzen Jackson were five-star signees for Lane Kiffin. Brown's curious career lasted one season. Jackson stayed two eventful seasons before he was booted about this time last year.

Rogers was Dooley's first and only five-star signee in 2010. He vindicated the hype last year, leading the SEC with 67 catches and earning first-team All-SEC.

Off the field, however, Rogers has had Dooley pulling his perfectly coifed hair from time to time. Still, it seemed that despite repeated rumors otherwise, the coach and his high-maintenance star were going to make a go of it one more season.

That blew up Thursday.

It is worth noting that Rogers wasn't flat-out dismissed from the team. The terms are indefinite suspension, with an allusion to "a process." But Dooley ventured that he did not expect Rogers to return.

As with Brown and Jackson, Rogers never delivered any hardware to a trophy case that's been sitting on status quo for a while now. Maybe this would have been the year.

In better days UT had the capacity to overcome setbacks like Rogers. Reggie Cobb goes out in 1989? SEC title. Chuck Webb goes down in '90? SEC title.

Jamal Lewis limps off in '98? National championship.

These are leaner times. Last year the Vols lost Justin Hunter, then Tyler Bray, and the wheels came off.

The 2012 roster is stouter than last year's. Why, there's even a new blue-chip receiver to plug in Rogers' vacancy.

Cordarrelle Patterson is a four- or five-star recruit, depending on which scouting service you prefer. As far as I know, he's all clear on the issues front.

For Dooley's professional sake, I hope so.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 71

coach799 writes:

No news here but the team outwardly seems confident that they will still be successful so I am not ready to press the panic button either.

GO VOLS!!

BruisedOrange writes:

There's an article: What percentage of 5 star recruits have finished at the school that signed them? What percentage remained in school until the NFL drafted them or they graduated?

vol98champ writes:

No, he wasn't worth it. If he tanked the Kentucky game like I believe he did, he should have been gone then. My craw is still trying to swallow that brick.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

I don't know what he did but if he can't get with the program send his booty packing. No body is above the program! Nobody! There are some very fine players and Coaches at the University of Tennessee. We'll be ok.

Go Vols!

Go Vols!

Rumblefish writes:

Yes. Winning cures everything. Refute that, and you're just naive.

rkw2 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Will you make it through elementary school?

DannyVol writes:

Yeah, we should stop recruiting 5-star players altogether. Then the column would be about how unaggressively Dooley is recruiting. This is the type of pointless article which makes the KNS sports section the worst in any SEC town.

VOLnChattTown writes:

I have heard in the past that DAAAY RICK was a constant source of strife in the locker room for Dooley. Tennessee is at such a pivotal spot in the history of this program that this bad seed (5 Star or not) could help lead to the demise of the program! SEEE YA later DAAAAY Rick!

BankerVol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

beartn#223846 writes:

Since Dooley was named coach just a couple of weeks before signing day, he had to take risks. There was no way he had time to vet each player's character for his first class.

Classof72 writes:

De'Rek Da'Rop Da'Rick? Da'right!

oldster writes:

Rogers should have been told to go to the locker room, take off his uniform and dismissed from the team immediately after his sideline cussing of Baggett. This would have done more for the future of Dooley's career than winning 10 games this year.

volaholic45 writes:

I credit darick for winning against vandy with a great one-handed catch, and playing a huge role in tanking the most recent game the Vols played.

In all other ways, a huge pain in the neck. Amazing that he couldn't even keep his act together until the first game of the season.

Not that it could have been known beforehand, but now that it's in the can, he was a net negative in my judgment. Therefore we're better off without him.

GoVols_16 writes:

We have a good coach. Derek Dooley is a good man. I like the fact that he KNOWS this is a very important year for him personally, but he still said that he is seeking to shape young men's lives. I was VERY impressed by his press conference today.

oldster writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Yes. Winning cures everything. Refute that, and you're just naive.

I will refute it and I am not naive. I have lived 65 years with over 30 being an attorney dealing with criminals, people in financial trouble, people getting divorced, etc. No, if anything, I am cynical. However, winning is not the only thing, regardless of what Lombardi is reputed to have said. E.g. SMU won a lot of games by cheating. Was it worth the death penalty? Whatever your response, remember cheating does not guarantee winning. It just increases your chances of getting in hot water.

oldster writes:

in response to VOLnChattTown:

I have heard in the past that DAAAY RICK was a constant source of strife in the locker room for Dooley. Tennessee is at such a pivotal spot in the history of this program that this bad seed (5 Star or not) could help lead to the demise of the program! SEEE YA later DAAAAY Rick!

Addition by subtraction?

Rumblefish writes:

in response to oldster:

I will refute it and I am not naive. I have lived 65 years with over 30 being an attorney dealing with criminals, people in financial trouble, people getting divorced, etc. No, if anything, I am cynical. However, winning is not the only thing, regardless of what Lombardi is reputed to have said. E.g. SMU won a lot of games by cheating. Was it worth the death penalty? Whatever your response, remember cheating does not guarantee winning. It just increases your chances of getting in hot water.

I appreciate your response.

However, you are assimilating criminals, divorced men and women, people with financial legal problems to kids playing football. That's two separate arenas my friend.

And to your point about SMU. Do you REALLY think the SMU alum and faithful cared about the perks players were getting while they were winning all those games? No, they did not.

I'm not saying we should go out and cheat. But I definitely think it's ok to recruit several players of "subject moral character" to increase your chances of winning. If they screw up in college and get caught...get rid of them. If they pass through without getting caught...more power to us!

FLORIDAGATORHATER writes:

In short, yes. Defenses are licking their chops now. Anyone who thinks our running game is going to take any pressure off Bray has a short memory. Running game was awful last year. Same personnel this year. There won't be much improvement this season. Dooley is naive--the great coaches are able to sweep this kind of stuff under the rug (Saban, Bowden, Meyer, etc.). Does anyone think Alabama's players don't smoke weed? Are you kidding me? Dooley is an amateur at player management. You have to keep the talent happy. If we are losing to NC State at half-time, you just might see Mr. Rogers.

GerryOP writes:

Keep looking forward and move along. There's nothing to see here. What happened happened ... now move along and don't look back.

12-0 baby ... 12-0.

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Glad he's gone. I haven't wanted him on the team since it was known he threw the Kentucky game.

ChattaVol1 writes:

in response to Orange_Gravy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amazing how just a few words said in a post leaves you saying, "this guy ain't real smart".

69grad writes:

Terrell Owens, Jr.

BadBob70 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

I appreciate your response.

However, you are assimilating criminals, divorced men and women, people with financial legal problems to kids playing football. That's two separate arenas my friend.

And to your point about SMU. Do you REALLY think the SMU alum and faithful cared about the perks players were getting while they were winning all those games? No, they did not.

I'm not saying we should go out and cheat. But I definitely think it's ok to recruit several players of "subject moral character" to increase your chances of winning. If they screw up in college and get caught...get rid of them. If they pass through without getting caught...more power to us!

I think you are ignoring the core issue. Football is merely a part of the education process. John Thompson from Georgetown said once, "Our job is to turn boys into men." He understood the issue. The former preacher and family counselor, Tom Osborne understands the issue at Nebraska.

You build a football team from the man up. If there are 125 good guys on the team, they will all help make the least team member better, and in the process make the entire team better. Shoot, you have to look no further than Pat Summit to understand how character is the single most important trait of a team player.

This concept leads directly to the coaching staff. Either the coaching staff is good at turning boys into men, or they fail as coaches. That is why Nebraska athletics has a staff of education experts helping their athletes succeed in school - and why the last I checked, NU football has a better graduation rate than the general student body.

HallowedHill writes:

The story unfolds a week from tonight.

GO VOLS!

HallowedHill writes:

in response to BadBob70:

I think you are ignoring the core issue. Football is merely a part of the education process. John Thompson from Georgetown said once, "Our job is to turn boys into men." He understood the issue. The former preacher and family counselor, Tom Osborne understands the issue at Nebraska.

You build a football team from the man up. If there are 125 good guys on the team, they will all help make the least team member better, and in the process make the entire team better. Shoot, you have to look no further than Pat Summit to understand how character is the single most important trait of a team player.

This concept leads directly to the coaching staff. Either the coaching staff is good at turning boys into men, or they fail as coaches. That is why Nebraska athletics has a staff of education experts helping their athletes succeed in school - and why the last I checked, NU football has a better graduation rate than the general student body.

I can't believe you are so naive. Did you even watch Nebraska football?!

Do you even know who Christian Peter was?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christia...

Do you even know who Lawrence Phillips was?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence...

The only thing Osborne was good at was covering up.

Wow, someone completely pulled the wool over your eyes about Nebraska.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Orange_Gravy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're a loser and everyone knows it

buzz29 writes:

Mike, what was the risk involved when Dooley recruited Rogers? Was there a known behavior issue on Rogers' part? If you are referring to the risk once Rogers was on the team, his behavior issues pale in comparison to the players you mentioned. Still, Rogers deserves to be removed from the team.

123forVOLS writes:

The answer is not so STRANGE Mike. You take chances on the big Star numbers guys if they are really interested in your program. You also know if one comes, it could be drama. UT has had far too much with the more elites lately. But unless there are obvious red flags waving outside their houses or you discover potentially negative waves, you at least take a chance and give them a shot.
If programs really are what they claim to be, the loss of even a top-notch player can be overcome. We saw the Vols not at that point last year and truly hope they have come a long way this year. As for DR, Vaya Con Dios amigo!

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to Orange_Gravy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think you suck the Big Orange, not the other way around.

usafvol writes:

in response to FLORIDAGATORHATER:

In short, yes. Defenses are licking their chops now. Anyone who thinks our running game is going to take any pressure off Bray has a short memory. Running game was awful last year. Same personnel this year. There won't be much improvement this season. Dooley is naive--the great coaches are able to sweep this kind of stuff under the rug (Saban, Bowden, Meyer, etc.). Does anyone think Alabama's players don't smoke weed? Are you kidding me? Dooley is an amateur at player management. You have to keep the talent happy. If we are losing to NC State at half-time, you just might see Mr. Rogers.

You should check yourself for polyps while your heard is up there..

SCVFL writes:

in response to 123forVOLS:

The answer is not so STRANGE Mike. You take chances on the big Star numbers guys if they are really interested in your program. You also know if one comes, it could be drama. UT has had far too much with the more elites lately. But unless there are obvious red flags waving outside their houses or you discover potentially negative waves, you at least take a chance and give them a shot.
If programs really are what they claim to be, the loss of even a top-notch player can be overcome. We saw the Vols not at that point last year and truly hope they have come a long way this year. As for DR, Vaya Con Dios amigo!

Goode post, 123
I agree that you must go after the big time difference makers and it is necessary to "smooze" them through Signing day. After that, I think they should be held to the same standards as the other 100 players. If they screw up off the field, are disrespectful to coaches, or lax off in practice, then start the discipline process(turning boys to men)immediately. AND 3 strikes your out. Consistency brings RESPECT...no different than raising your children, if you always threaten but never act, their behavior will not change.

VOLS 31 NCST 24
Love me some VOL football
GO BIG RNG...VFL

CrankE writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Yes. Winning cures everything. Refute that, and you're just naive.

Penn State.

oldster writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

I appreciate your response.

However, you are assimilating criminals, divorced men and women, people with financial legal problems to kids playing football. That's two separate arenas my friend.

And to your point about SMU. Do you REALLY think the SMU alum and faithful cared about the perks players were getting while they were winning all those games? No, they did not.

I'm not saying we should go out and cheat. But I definitely think it's ok to recruit several players of "subject moral character" to increase your chances of winning. If they screw up in college and get caught...get rid of them. If they pass through without getting caught...more power to us!

I am not "assimilating" or comparing "kids playing football" to the people I represented as an attorney. First, I was referring to the people I represented in order to establish that I was not naive as you suggested that anyone who refutes the idea that "winning cures everything" must be. My career choice pretty much prevents my being naive. Secondly, when people reach the age of 18 they are no longer "kids."

As to your response to my point about SMU and every other school who cheats, gets caught, and gets punished, I would agree that the many or even most of the supporter do not care that cheating is being done before the team gets caught. However, that was not the comment to which I was responding. You said that winning cures everything. I said and say that is does not. Winning and then being put in a position where one cannot win for years because of the cheating does not cure the pain of losing for all those years of punishment.

I also disagree with the idea of cheating and getting away with it. If I have to cheat to win, then I could not feel that I won. However, I will agree that your attitude is the prevailing attitude of the generations after mine. It is one of the reasons that our country and culture is dying.

oldster writes:

in response to oldster:

I am not "assimilating" or comparing "kids playing football" to the people I represented as an attorney. First, I was referring to the people I represented in order to establish that I was not naive as you suggested that anyone who refutes the idea that "winning cures everything" must be. My career choice pretty much prevents my being naive. Secondly, when people reach the age of 18 they are no longer "kids."

As to your response to my point about SMU and every other school who cheats, gets caught, and gets punished, I would agree that the many or even most of the supporter do not care that cheating is being done before the team gets caught. However, that was not the comment to which I was responding. You said that winning cures everything. I said and say that is does not. Winning and then being put in a position where one cannot win for years because of the cheating does not cure the pain of losing for all those years of punishment.

I also disagree with the idea of cheating and getting away with it. If I have to cheat to win, then I could not feel that I won. However, I will agree that your attitude is the prevailing attitude of the generations after mine. It is one of the reasons that our country and culture is dying.

Sorry for the grammatical error. It should be, "It is one of the reasons that our country and culture ARE dying."

CrankE writes:

A good question for future Kelley "The Future" Washingtons might be this; A 5 star player is going to bring bentefits to the team. He might also bring headaches. Can I get enough benefit from him here to justify the headaches? Or would I get more benefit from him going to a rival school and causing headaches there?

De Jawjuh folks must be cackling with glee that Rogers is causing headaches for Dooley instead of Richt.

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

If by injury or other reasons--gone and not coming back.This guy was never a positive force on the team.Maybe it's better he is gone--I hope it is the last.Other receivers will step up--like Carter.It remains the same--8 or 9 wins.-----GO VOLS!

arkyvol writes:

in response to CrankE:

A good question for future Kelley "The Future" Washingtons might be this; A 5 star player is going to bring bentefits to the team. He might also bring headaches. Can I get enough benefit from him here to justify the headaches? Or would I get more benefit from him going to a rival school and causing headaches there?

De Jawjuh folks must be cackling with glee that Rogers is causing headaches for Dooley instead of Richt.

maybe the solution is not to recruit any 4 and 5 star players (too much trouble). considering the vol's present standing in the recruiting rankings, i'd say dooley's got that down pat.

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

I'm sick that we will not see these 3 great WR line up at the same time. Who could stop these three? Guess we will never know the answer thanks to Da'Rick being unable to put his TEAM first.

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

I wonder how much money Da'Rick has pi$$ed down the toilet with his actions?

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

in response to FLORIDAGATORHATER:

In short, yes. Defenses are licking their chops now. Anyone who thinks our running game is going to take any pressure off Bray has a short memory. Running game was awful last year. Same personnel this year. There won't be much improvement this season. Dooley is naive--the great coaches are able to sweep this kind of stuff under the rug (Saban, Bowden, Meyer, etc.). Does anyone think Alabama's players don't smoke weed? Are you kidding me? Dooley is an amateur at player management. You have to keep the talent happy. If we are losing to NC State at half-time, you just might see Mr. Rogers.

Patterson is good enough to pick up the slack - only problem is he has yet to learn the playbook. What he has done in practice has amazed his coaches and teammates. As far as Hunter, you never know how a player will come back from a serious knee injury, but make no mistake about it, you will not get many VOL fans that do not agree that he was better than Rogers when he went down to the knee injury. I think the sad part is with the three of these guys lined up, no team would be able to stop them.

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

in response to HallowedHill:

I can't believe you are so naive. Did you even watch Nebraska football?!

Do you even know who Christian Peter was?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christia...

Do you even know who Lawrence Phillips was?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence...

The only thing Osborne was good at was covering up.

Wow, someone completely pulled the wool over your eyes about Nebraska.

No kidding. Great posts. I was thinking the same thing as I read this poor misguided Nebraska fans post.

bigfan865 writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

I wonder how much money Da'Rick has pi$$ed down the toilet with his actions?

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OrangePride writes:

I hate to see so much talent get the boot. But I would have liked it less had Dooley looked the other way and held one guy to a lesser standard than the others. When that consistently happens, you develop a toxic locker room and just about all team chemistry is negatively affected. Frankly, I was a little surprised DR did not get the boot last season after his very visible sideline blow-up on our coaching staff. Clearly, last year's locker room situation was exposed as a disaster by the end of the year. Perhaps Rogers' departure will actually be an improvement in that department. Whatever; this team is deeper and seems considerably more cohesive than last year. So, with CP and a few other good receivers still in the lineup, some positive leadership in that locker room, and a little on-field success, I think we will be OK in the long run. GO VOLS!

OrangePride writes:

in response to bigfan865:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really, big fan? This is really the kind of negative stereotyping that just isn't a good reflection on you or any decent Vol fan. You should look this over again and perhaps remove it.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to VOLnChattTown:

I have heard in the past that DAAAY RICK was a constant source of strife in the locker room for Dooley. Tennessee is at such a pivotal spot in the history of this program that this bad seed (5 Star or not) could help lead to the demise of the program! SEEE YA later DAAAAY Rick!

Don,'t
buy into the BS that Rodgers was a cancer or distraction to the team..Lot's of players have said the opposite..Losing a 1000 yard go to guy is a very bad thing..You would think that Rodgers watching Honey Badger throw his career away on a similar violation would be a lesson learned..Instead he will be packing his bags for Alabama State..As for Bryce Brown and all his knucklehead decisions, he currently having a pretty good camp with the Eagles,averaging 5 yards a carry and his 2 good showings away from making the Eagles roster

budd#207344 writes:

in response to FLORIDAGATORHATER:

In short, yes. Defenses are licking their chops now. Anyone who thinks our running game is going to take any pressure off Bray has a short memory. Running game was awful last year. Same personnel this year. There won't be much improvement this season. Dooley is naive--the great coaches are able to sweep this kind of stuff under the rug (Saban, Bowden, Meyer, etc.). Does anyone think Alabama's players don't smoke weed? Are you kidding me? Dooley is an amateur at player management. You have to keep the talent happy. If we are losing to NC State at half-time, you just might see Mr. Rogers.

Saban would have had Rogers on a bus back to GA last year. Great coaches don't take this phooey from some kid.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Z's, I'm guessing no. His attitude will sour and he'll get yanked, he'll injure himself again, or he'll be suspended for doing something stupid off the field.

usafvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Z's, I'm guessing no. His attitude will sour and he'll get yanked, he'll injure himself again, or he'll be suspended for doing something stupid off the field.

You guy's are such losers. I don't know why you feel the need to go to another teams website instead of your own. The fact that the lizards is your team explains why you're here and not there.

Central_IL_Vol writes:

DeltaCharlie3 and BodeaneVol are both horse's arses of the highest order and must have nothing better to do than get on their momma's computer!

Ayres_Hall writes:

Now I understand why it was Justin Hunter, and not ALL-SEC Da'Rick Rogers, who was the featured player in a video promotion and the covers of magazines.

This has sore been oozing for many months. It finally opened and now the healing may begin.

I bet CP is really good!!!!

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