Tennessee looks to alternatives after Da'Rick Rogers' indefinite suspension

Dooley: WR unlikely to return to team

Da'Rick  Rogers

Da'Rick Rogers

Da'Rick Rogers' troubled career at Tennessee appears to be over, leaving the Vols without one of the nation's best receivers only one week before the season opener against North Carolina State.

Coach Derek Dooley announced Thursday that Rogers had been suspended from the team and was unlikely to return. The junior led the SEC with 67 receptions and 1,040 yards last season and was expected to be the top target in Vols' offense in 2012.

Dooley declined to elaborate on the details of Rogers' infraction, other than to say "recent events" led to the suspension. Messages left on Rogers' cellphone were not returned Thursday. Hal Lamb, Rogers' high school coach in Calhoun, Ga., said he didn't know why Rogers had been released.

"I hate to hear the news," Lamb said. "I'm here to help him. I texted him, but I haven't heard from him."

Rogers' promising career never reached its potential, and he was involved in off-the-field trouble almost immediately after his arrival as a coveted five-star recruit in 2010.

He was arrested after a fight at a Knoxville bar in July 2010. This year, Rogers received a two-week ban from offseason activities and then missed some of spring practice amid rumors that he planned to transfer. But he had just wrapped up an impressive camp and was expected to be the Vols' top receiver again in 2012.

"It is disappointing. But I'm sure he'll land on his feet," Lamb said. "He's not a bad kid at all. He just gets caught up in situations he can't get out of. But I'm here for him. He knows that. That's what high school coaches are for."

Rogers' departure likely will add further red flags on his NFL resume, but the concerns for Tennessee go deeper than that.

Dooley, who informed Rogers of the suspension on Wednesday and told the rest of the team before practice Thursday, emphasized that the team was bigger than Rogers alone.

"There's not one player on the team that we're not prepared to go play without," Dooley said.

In the short term, Rogers' absence will put added pressure on junior Justin Hunter and junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson. Hunter missed most of last season with a torn ACL, and Dooley said it might be a few games before he is able to "knock some rust off."

Dooley also cautioned that Patterson would endure "growing pains" as he starts his career.

"He's got the size, the speed, the ball skills and the competitive character," Dooley said. "Our biggest challenge is helping him play fast by knowing what to do and how to react. He has never been in this environment."

Senior Zach Rogers and true freshman Cody Blanc were listed as second-teamers on the depth chart behind Patterson and Hunter.

"You just have to be on your toes 24-7," Zach Rogers said. "Some guy goes down and the next guy has to be able to step up. I think we can get it done regardless."

Senior tight end Mychal Rivera said he planned to reach out to Da'Rick Rogers through a text message. But most teammates were cautious in what they said to reporters.

"We've got a mature group," said quarterback Tyler Bray. "We'll be fine."

Running back Rajion Neal said he planned to "stay out of the Internet, blogs and things like that" in the coming days.

Senior cornerback Prentiss Waggner said the departure opens up opportunities for others.

"Once I heard the news, I was pretty disappointed in Da'Rick, but I haven't gotten all the details," he said. "I went right to Justin Hunter, told him 'Let's go now.' Went up to (Patterson) and Zach Rogers and told them the same thing. I think they're going to get the job done.

Dooley said the suspension of Da'Rick Rogers came about suddenly, although rumors had percolated about Rogers' status throughout this month, perhaps because of his disciplinary history.

At his preseason news conference, Dooley was asked if Rogers was facing a suspension when the season started.

"No," Dooley replied. "I don't know what you're talking about.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 39

cyclonevol87 writes:

It would be nice to play some patsy to start off with but thats the way it goes got to move on.playing one of the best defensive back fields right off the bat doesnt help.

HallowedHill writes:

Nobody said life in the SEC was easy. Chin up, let's get it done.

GO VOLS!

kd45music writes:

I'll give Dooley credit for not messing around with these kids. You only get so many chances and then you're done. Life after football doesn't even give you that many. Thankfully this program isn't run as Penn State apparently was much to all our surprise. It may cost a win, but some things are more valuable than football games.

SmokeyFTW writes:

What a shame. Could have had one of the best wide receiving cores in the country.

CoverOrange writes:

Two articles about the DaRipoff, that's enough for me, lets move on to something more important.

vorangel writes:

Dooley's lousy character judgements and personnel decisions have decimated the passing game and turned a position of strength into a potential liabiliy.
Arnett? Gone. Dallas? On defense.
Where are all those dynamic freshmen receivers? Howard? Bowles? Croom? Blanc has beat them all out already? Great for him, but...
Add in the bad decisions and bad breaks at tight end (Clear and Downs) and this could get ugly.
Rivera better get healthy soon and Patterson better be the real deal.

Southland writes:

bet the team chemistry will improve overnight. when you have a player that yells at the coaches and coaches quit rather than deal with him you have a major problem child. Think Carl Pickens xs 10

Prostar writes:

This kid has got to be one ignorant jerk. Just how much do you need to see to realize what these "bad" decisions can cost you? A 5-star recruit and he ends up at a FCS or DivII school, now if that's not a kick in the pants.Does this hurt? Yeah, but we'll get over it and be better off for it.

bigtangerine writes:

Rogers should have been gone after the Kentucky game. You don't confront a coach. Keep trouble around and you will eventually pay.
That's on Dooley.

OrangePsyched writes:

Field day for the idiots like Walt. Rogers is gone and we will move on. This team has plenty of talent. Neal will pick up the slack as our OL creates holes. I'm still psyched for the 31st and putting the smackdown on Wolfpack.

voloffaith writes:

in response to vorangel:

Dooley's lousy character judgements and personnel decisions have decimated the passing game and turned a position of strength into a potential liabiliy.
Arnett? Gone. Dallas? On defense.
Where are all those dynamic freshmen receivers? Howard? Bowles? Croom? Blanc has beat them all out already? Great for him, but...
Add in the bad decisions and bad breaks at tight end (Clear and Downs) and this could get ugly.
Rivera better get healthy soon and Patterson better be the real deal.

Mister Cyrstal Ball all coaches take risks in recruiting....."Pig" Howard injured.....Bowles freshmen also...big jump hs to college(duh) Rivera back 100% Patterson bringing up to speed of game vs JUCO... Blanc 6' 3" 4.4 40 so let the freshmen play(if they will block) and grow...hey it really is ok to be optimistic...beats the daylights out of being debbie downer all the time...

PUL4VOLS writes:

We Move on. It's that simple. He made the choices now he has to pay the piper. We will be fine. It just stinks to happen right as the season is about to begin. NFL please beware of the drama of this young man. He definitely needs to grow up. NOW GO VOLS!

Munsterlander writes:

in response to vorangel:

Dooley's lousy character judgements and personnel decisions have decimated the passing game and turned a position of strength into a potential liabiliy.
Arnett? Gone. Dallas? On defense.
Where are all those dynamic freshmen receivers? Howard? Bowles? Croom? Blanc has beat them all out already? Great for him, but...
Add in the bad decisions and bad breaks at tight end (Clear and Downs) and this could get ugly.
Rivera better get healthy soon and Patterson better be the real deal.

Wow, you people get old.

TrouserCough writes:

in response to kd45music:

I'll give Dooley credit for not messing around with these kids. You only get so many chances and then you're done. Life after football doesn't even give you that many. Thankfully this program isn't run as Penn State apparently was much to all our surprise. It may cost a win, but some things are more valuable than football games.

You would test positive for this same thing as Da'Rick after that statement. Do you know anything about his time her?

vol98champ writes:

I wonder what Janzen Jackson would be doing with his millions today if he wasn't an idiot. I wonder what DR would do with his millions next year if he wasn't an idiot.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

knew this idiot was trouble when saw that pic of him his freshman year with the saggy pants at his knees------------nothing good and lasting comes from these types

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

One man's suspension is another's opportunity

orange_eVOLution writes:

Let's talk what matters now. We're gonna run the ball on Florida like it's their worst nightmare. The Gators are going DOWN this year in the big K-town.

GO VOLS !!

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to vol98champ:

I wonder what Janzen Jackson would be doing with his millions today if he wasn't an idiot. I wonder what DR would do with his millions next year if he wasn't an idiot.

Now I know why Virginia Tech recruits mostly 3-star guys who can really play... but don't have issues.

lstbodeanvol writes:

well move on....let Jacob Carter get some more plays he looked great in the spring and has no drama baggage...GO VOLS...GET THE WOLF PACK

Classof72 writes:

I wish him the best. He wasn't a good fit by any means at Tennessee. He has plenty of talent, and might be a better fit at Southern Cal. He and Kiffin deserve the opportunity to work together. The Vols should be a lot better off without him.

eduardo writes:

BuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzBallllllllllll!!!!!

BMSvol writes:

evan, overall good reporting but i dont agree completely with the following.......

" The junior led the SEC with 67 receptions and 1,040 yards last season and was expected to be the top target in Vols' offense in 2012."

i really did not expect him to be the top target now that hunter is back.

and i may be wrong but i doubt anyone who has seen them both play would consider him more than hunter's backup...even if he did lead the sec last year

therightstuff writes:

in response to orange_eVOLution:

Now I know why Virginia Tech recruits mostly 3-star guys who can really play... but don't have issues.

VaTech just keep their issues covered up. They have more than their fair share of bad boys... Beamer had issues with both the Vick brothers that he allowed slide...though I do believe he had to let Marcus go because DUI...even him sacking two underage girls didn't get him the boot.

orange_eVOLution writes:

We have plenty of WR talent. What could have been now becomes what will be. And we're gonna be fine. Our running game is going to make people forget this guy and talk about the O-line. Thank you, coaches.

gatlinvol72 writes:

How can the writer of this article say that Rogers never reached his potential? Isn't being the leading receiver in the SEC for 2011 pretty damn good? That said, I am sorely disappointed in his actions that led to his suspension. However, this gives someone else the opportunity to step up & be a real Vol. Go UT, beat the Wolfpack!!

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to therightstuff:

VaTech just keep their issues covered up. They have more than their fair share of bad boys... Beamer had issues with both the Vick brothers that he allowed slide...though I do believe he had to let Marcus go because DUI...even him sacking two underage girls didn't get him the boot.

Good call. I had almost forgotten about the 'other' Vick. All coaches have to deal with this kind of BS in some capacity.

Let's play ball.

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

To lose a player who figures to be such a vital component of your offense as D Rogers can either demoralize a team or galvanize it. I recall that when Hunter went down in the Fla game, it was as if the entire team suffered the injury collectively and their play from that point on reflected the impact of his loss. But losing a player to disciplinary infractions could have the opposite effect, and, according to some of the players' comments in the article, I believe Rogers' dismissal could very well result in a more strongly unified team. But I'm sure it throws a monkey wrench into Chaney's gameplan. With the pressure Dooley has to be feeling to produce wins this season, I commend him for putting the welfare of the team above his own need for success. Rogers' transgressions had to have left him with no other choice. I just really hate to see anyone squander such an opportunity as this young man had. Sure hope he realizes not only what he has cost himself but what he has cost those who were depending on him and corrects his course before it's too late.

RockyMtnVol writes:

in response to vorangel:

Dooley's lousy character judgements and personnel decisions have decimated the passing game and turned a position of strength into a potential liabiliy.
Arnett? Gone. Dallas? On defense.
Where are all those dynamic freshmen receivers? Howard? Bowles? Croom? Blanc has beat them all out already? Great for him, but...
Add in the bad decisions and bad breaks at tight end (Clear and Downs) and this could get ugly.
Rivera better get healthy soon and Patterson better be the real deal.

I guess Dooley is responsible for eveyone's bad decisions.....holding people accountable has been consistent......your reply is obviously stupid.

This is a TEAM sport, and DR let his team down, not Dooley........you are an idiot.

GBO!!

RockyMtnVol writes:

in response to Orange_Gravy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are an idiot...MS was fired at Alabama, and he couldn't wear CDD jock.

you people all come out of the wood work, when things like this happen and blame the coach for bad parenting. DR was pampered, and yes given every opportunity to clean up his act. His deecision cost him millions for the weed, I guess you did too.

RockyMtnVol writes:

After LK, we wanted someone with character, and the ability to build a program, you would rather CDD take a chance with a kid who could not say no, and have UT with the likes of Kiffen. UT was falling apart in the last years of PF and he cut corners by recuiting players with a bad rep in high school, DR did not show signs of drugs in HS, as far as anyone on this page knows, winning at any cost is not UT. The current state of our football program was caused by bad decisions and let players get away with just about anything. CDD comes in and tries to build a program of integrity and that takes time and good player evaluations, its not 100% foolproof, just like you.......you know nothing of the pressure to perform when your trying to gauge 17/18 year old men when their parents and high school coaches are telling you that he is a good kid.

Stooley_Dinks writes:

How is Cody Blanc 2nd team? No offense, but this was a known grow into player. Bring back Vincent Dallas. Zach Rogers is a 3 option. Doesn't catch in traffic. What about Drae Bowles? Croom? These guys were pretty highly rated.

RobbieT writes:

in response to MooseandSquirrelVol:

One man's suspension is another's opportunity

oh, just such a brilliant mind, here

totoiv writes:

I personally agree with most of the statements posted here. However, this summer on the Erik Ange local radio show he had several interviews with current players on Rogers and they all loved him. This was more than just PR 101. They called him passionate, a player who was ultra-competitive and driven to win. A person extremely confident in his abilities. And, these traits sometimes clashed with some of the coaches who have the same characteristics. They said all of the players loved him. When I heard these interviews I became very confused about the whole situation. It is a shame that this had to occur. My other thought was in a season that some are saying Dooley must win 8 the lost of Rogers could cost us a game somewhere along the season. Yes, we have depth but he was the #1 reciever in the SEC. Yes, Dooley is sticking to his values and that is good. But, it could cost him his job and maybe his career. I don't see him getting another head coaching job anywhere else if he gets dismissed after another sub-par season.

RollTideJoe writes:

I respect Derek for doing what has to be done. In the end, the team will be stronger for it and those left will understand better that they have to live within the rules or leave. Those with enough to maturity to see what the costs may be for them to blow an opportunity to play for a major program and earn large dollars in the NFL will lead the team that emerges strong for the long run. Considering what Dooley inherited, surely Tennessee will allow him reasonable time to restore its football program. He's pulling together a quality coaching staff that should show results this year and beyond. I can tell you that in Saban's first year at Alabama, he was 6-0 when five starters broke team rules. He exacted the punishment that was required and lost every game the remainder of that season...but it sets a standard within the team that he meant business and would not tolerate troublemakers. The next season the team showed outstanding results. As Derek said in his interview, it is no different than proper parenting.

CroKev writes:

Where's Walt telling us that Dooley doesn't discipline his players?

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

in response to OrangePsyched:

Field day for the idiots like Walt. Rogers is gone and we will move on. This team has plenty of talent. Neal will pick up the slack as our OL creates holes. I'm still psyched for the 31st and putting the smackdown on Wolfpack.

NCST by 7.

Then reality sets in.

After all, this is ut.

jjsteel writes:

same article different day.

SCVFL writes:

Give me the team full of 3*, that want to play at Tennessee, that leave it all on the field every game, every practice. Hometown boys that want to wear the ORANGE of TENNESSEE.
I also believe that CDD is doing a "good" job (maybe not a great job)of rebuilding. The mess he took over will not be fixed in 3-4 seasons, but will be rebuilt over time. Is he the coach in 2014-2015? Who knows? But I do believe he deserves the right to have 4-5 years to implement his entire plan before linching him. He needs to start showing improvements this year and I think he will do that. DaRicks antics hurt but I think there is enough talent at TENNESSEE to overcome this.
I am adjustring my VOLS 35 NCST 24 prediction to:
VOLS 31 NCST 24
Love me some VOL football
GO BIG RNG...VFL

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