Da'Rick Rogers, Casey Hayward

Da’Rick Rogers’ future with Vols up in the air



In less than four months, Tennessee’s has lost its best defensive player (Janzen Jackson) to a dismissal, its best receiver (Justin Hunter) to a season-ending injury and its starting quarterback (Tyler Bray) for several games with a broken thumb.  Unbelievably, the long-term status of yet another prominent member of the Vols is now very much up in the air as well.

While initial reports had Da’Rick Rogers dismissed from the football program entirely, it’s subsequently been confirmed by the Knoxville News Sentinel that the wide receiver is technically not a part of the team but is not officially suspended either.  Wes Rucker of govols247.com writes that Rogers could work his way back onto the team, although it’s unclear what led to the issue in the first place.

Head coach Derek Dooley confirmed to the News Sentinel that a meeting took place with Rogers today, but would not get into the reasons behind it.

Thanks to Hunter’s injury three games into the 2011 season, Rogers ended up leading the Vols in receptions (67), receiving yards (1,040) and receiving touchdowns (nine).  Rogers was a five-star member of Dooley’s first UT recruiting class in 2010, with Rivals.com rating the Georgia high school product as the No. 2 receiver in the country and the No. 1 player in his state.  He had originally verbally committed to Georgia, but was a late flip to the Vols.

The issues surrounding Rogers will have no impact on the field this year as the Vols, at 5-7, are ineligible for a bowl.

UPDATED 5:53 p.m. ET: Dooley has released a statement addressing the Rogers situation.  Here it is, for what it’s worth.

“Da’Rick Rogers has not been suspended and is still a part of our football team.”

Rucker notes in a tweet that, despite Dooley’s statement, “he’s definitely in trouble, though.”

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury