Rogers ready to be a player, not distraction, for Vols
Posted: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 8:00 pm
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee’s Da’Rick Rogers said Monday the situation last week that led to the junior wide receiver missing Thursday’s practice and sparked reports of a possible transfer isn’t a controversy and is now in the past.
Rogers dealt with what he said were personal issues he had to handle off the field, but is focused on the future and helping the Volunteers rebound from a 5-7 season in 2011.
“I wasn’t really trying to be a distraction, but it was a situation that we got handled,” Rogers said. “Everything is good now. As a team, now we are focusing on moving forward.”
Rogers said he never considered transferring, and expects the Vols to become “a championship-contending team” in 2012.
“The whole team, I think we have all come together, and I think this is the year. The team chemistry is great this year,” Rogers said. “Honestly, I think this might be the year.”
Rogers knows he’s in the spotlight more than most players because of his performance last season on the field, but coach Derek Dooley said he treats every player the same way.
“We don’t have different standards despite what a lot of people think,” Dooley said. “Does that mean we treat everybody the same? No. We have some big picture standards that are very black and white with how we handle them. How we manage it with each player is very different depending on what the personality is and depending on a lot of things. The leash is similar, but there’s also a break point with every player.”
Junior wide receiver Justin Hunter is ahead of schedule returning from a torn left ACL, which caused him to miss Tennessee’s final nine games last year. Still, Hunter will be limited and in a red, non-contact jersey this spring.
“I have no pain and I’m coming back stronger than I was before,” Hunter said. “My cutting is good. I even landed on my left leg today and it was straight, so I don’t have any fears.”
Dooley said the team had the “Monday morning blues” and that coaches had to energize the players during the morning practice.
“Everybody in America has them,” Dooley said. “It was a great weekend and it’s time to go to work Monday morning. Watching basketball on the weekends and you have to go. You can’t have Monday and you wait until Tuesday to get going. You have to go now. We had to remind them of that a little bit.”
Dooley emphasized the Vols need to learn how to push through the daily college football grind.
“Every day it’s going to get challenged to see if you are really committed,” Dooley said. “You have to exercise a level of grit in ability to persist in the face of difficulty. You also need some leadership around you to affect others in a positive way. We have to keep working on those things.
“I talked to the team after practice about with every great player, every great team and every great organization,” the coach said. “You have to define a standard of what you believe in and what you want to look like. We’ve done that in our program with our values.”
The Vols installed their goal-line and short-yardage packages on Monday.
Brent Brewer moved back to safety on Saturday after spending the first three practices working at linebacker. The junior said the move came because coaches wanted more experience in the secondary.
“It’s a little bit of a depth thing,” Brewer said. “They just said they need more experience back there. They had one player back there that played” last year. Published in The Messenger 4.3.12