The Da’Rick Rogers saga was essentially a microcosm of Tennessee football since 2001.
A divided fan base over whether the All-SEC wide receiver is worth the trouble. A five-star talent that doesn’t produce a five-star career. Locker room conflicts with coaches and teammates. The problems went on and on, similar to how the issues kept piling on Phillip Fulmer during the last half of his hall of fame coaching career.
The end result? No matter the yearly hype, the Volunteers have largely been a disappointment for the last ten seasons.
David-Ricky put Tennessee in a lose-lose situation.
For two years, he did things his way, disregarding what was best for teammates, coaches and the program. Plenty of former Vols never cared about Tennessee either, but those players still found a way to co-exist within the team, even if it was only to ensure the best NFL future for themselves.
Da’Rick couldn’t do that. And now, his NFL draft stock will suffer more than the Vols’ 2012 season.
Is the Tennessee football program better off without Rogers? Sure, but the loss of a player who had 67 receptions for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns last year as a sophomore in the SEC probably doesn’t make theVols a better team on the field.
Maybe it’ll have the addition by subtraction impact that the 2009-10 men’s basketball team got when Tyler Smith was dismissed from program at mid-season.
Tennessee can still have the best passing game in the SEC and one of the best in the country without Da’Rick. The wide receiver trio of Rogers, Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson along with quarterback Tyler gave the Vols the potential to have one of the all-time great seasons through the air in college football history.
But we all know – at least most of us at feelslke98.com – that winning championships in the SEC is about running the football and playing great defense. Da’Rick was going to have little effect on if Rajion Neal could pick up three yards on a critical 3rd-and-2 or if Curt Maggitt and Jacques Smith could generate much-needed pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
What’s most disappointing is that we, as Tennessee fans, only got to see Bray, Hunter and Da’Rick play two games together as starters.
The media day pictures and UT photo shoots shouldn’t be what gets fans excited for upcoming seasons. It should be the highlight reel plays. And unfortunately, the 2011 Montana and Cincinnati games will be only times Nos. 8, 11 and 21 did such together.
Let’s face it, Tennessee isn’t going to win the SEC every year, but I at least want to see the Vols lose games with their best players on the field. Injuries, like the torn ACL to Hunter last season, always happen, but a team’s most dependable player on the field shouldn’t be its least dependable off of it.
Da’Rick’s recklessness and swagger on the field made him the great talent he is, but those same attributes also caused his off the field issues.
If only David-Ricky could’ve balanced his Twitter bio, which says “Just trying to be the best at everything I do. I dream like I live forever, But I live like I die tomorrow.”
Instead, Da’Rick Rogers’ Tennessee career dies after two rocky seasons.
As a Vols fans, it’s become too common and needs to change now, without or without “Pretty Boys” in orange and white.