Rumors began circulating Wednesday night about the status of All-Southeastern Conference wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers and his status with the Tennessee football program.
Less than 12 hours later, Vol fans' concerns were confirmed when No. 21 didn’t waltz onto Haslam Field with the rest of the wide receivers. Derek Dooley wasn’t ready to call Rogers’ absence a suspension, but he is clearly not with the team.
"Da'Rick has some things he has to do internally,” Dooley said following Day 3 of spring practice. “When he does them, he'll be back. It's an internal team issue. It's something he has to finish doing some stuff and when he does, he'll be back."
Scout.com's Georgia State affiliate Panthersville.com reported that Rogers was reached for comment on a possible transfer to the FCS school: “Georgia State would be the only place I'd look at," Rogers replied.
“He has some things that he has to do to be back and when he does them he will come back,” Dooley said when asked about a possible transfer. “I don’t have any knowledge of him wanting to leave. He has never indicated that to me or anyone else.”
Regardless of Rogers intentions, without their star wide receiver the Vols are now extremely thin on the edge following the denature of DeAnthony Arnett to Michigan State and the limited status of Justin Hunter (ACL).
“There is no question we are thin at wideout,” Dooley said. “Justin (Hunter) is limited, Da’Rick was our most productive player, he wasn’t out there today and of course we don’t have DeAnthony (Arnett). That’s OK. Our emphasis this spring is what — running the football.”
Dooley added that the absence of Rogers doesn’t change the Vols plans for practice, which include a heavy emphasis on the running game.
"My worries when I'm out on the practice field are the 90 guys out there," Dooley said. "That's all I can focus on and that's what the team is focused on. It's just like a guy with an injury. We can't worry about the guys that aren't there that day. We come in the next day, and try to reshape things. We go out the next day and see who's out there. That's all you can keep your focus on."
To hear more from Dooley following Thursday's practice, click play on the video below: