Everyone, it seems, has a weakness when it comes to something. For University of Tennessee sophomore Dennis Rogan, it's opposing kickers.
Rogan, an electrifying 5-10, 185-pound sophomore from Knoxville, exhibited eye-popping potential as a kickoff and punt return specialist last fall. Despite limited opportunities, he posted a 45-yard punt return against Vanderbilt and kickoff returns of 78 yards (vs. Arkansas), 41 yards (vs. Vanderbilt), 31 yards (vs. Florida), 29 yards vs. South Carolina and Wisconsin.
Oddly enough, though, Rogan's knack for big plays did not produce a single touchdown last fall. That's because – often as not – he was brought down by the least athletic and least likely player on the field ... the opposing kicker.
Naturally, Rogan took an incredible amount of kidding about this in 2007. He had hoped the arrival of 2008 would put an end to the wisecracks. It didn't. If anything, the chiding has intensified.
No one is having more fun at Rogan's expense than fellow defensive back Eric Berry.
Berry will play close to every down at safety this fall and also projects to get a few snaps on offense. Even so, he says he's eager to contribute on special teams, as well.
“Yeah, I want to block for Rogan,” he said recently. That's my goal for this year. Me and DeAngelo Willingham talked about it: We want to get Rogan to the house (end zone).
“I told him, 'We're going to take care of the other stuff. You just have to get past the punter this year.'”
Berry paused several seconds while laughing at the recollection, then continued:
“We jump on him about that all the time. He'll shake the DBs and make a linebacker miss who's on special teams. But he gets to the punter and freezes up.
“We're like, 'Rogan, come on, man!'”