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Dooley Says He Doesn’t Expect Rogers To Return To UT

After practice today, Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley addressed the media regarding the indefinite suspension of starting receiver Da’Rick Rogers.  While he refused to talk specifics about what Rogers did or what it would take for him to come back, he did make a few things clear:


* He stated that the staff’s expectation is that Rogers will not return to the UT football team.

* He said there isn’t one player on the UT team who cannot be replaced.

* He said the suspension came as a result of recent actions, implying that something happened this week to bring down Rogers.  (Whether that means it was one failure or just a final straw is yet to be learned.)

* Dooley also stated that he did not know if Rogers is still on the Tennessee campus.  He has not spoken to him since informing him of the suspension yesterday.


For a coach trying to save his job, this is bad news.  Sure, from a team chemistry standpoint, it’s entirely possible that Rogers’ suspension/departure could unify a team that had grown weary of his me-first ways.  That said, Dooley is entering what looks to be a make-or-break season and he’s facing a team expected to challenge for the ACC title in his opener.  He’s got seven new assistants on his staff and a new 3-4 scheme on defense that’s being installed.

Most folks taking a positive view of the Vols expected Tennessee to win games with an aerial attack led by a talented quarterback and three good receivers.  Now one of those receivers appears to be out of the mix.

If Dooley finally had enough of Rogers and made the call on this, then he should get credit for doing so.  Even if he gave Rogers’ umpteen chances before finally pulling the trigger.  But this looks to be a University decision, not a Dooley decision (as was the case with former star safety Janzen Jackson who was booted prior to last season because of repeated drug issues).

Either way — whether Dooley took a stand or UT forced his hand — losing one-fourth of the quartet expected to make the Vol attack fly must be difficult for the third-year coach to stomach.

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UT QB Bray Heading To Court For “Hot Dogging” On Jet Ski

About two weeks ago, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray was involved in an incident in which he and his roommate were caught tossing beer bottles and golf balls onto a car, doing damage to the vehicle.  Bray and his roommate were spotted by another person living in their apartment complex.  That person had her own windshield busted out the next day — quite a coincidence — but no one saw who was involved in that act of vandalism.

Bray told the first vandalism victim — the one who had his name — that he would make restitution for damage.  For that reason, no charges were pressed.  Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said at the time that he took the matter “seriously,” but then joked at a speaking engagement about his quarterback’s accuracy, saying he missed a trash can.

Dooley’s ha-ha reaction can be viewed through a brand new lens today as The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that Bray is slated to appear in a General Sessions Court setting because on July 4th, he and a woman passenger were “hot dogging” on a Jet Ski on Tellico Lake, not far from Knoxville.  Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Dewayne Williams said that the “hot dogging” was “almost like playing chicken” with another Jet Ski.  That other Jet Ski tipped over and its occupants went into the water… at which point Bray then zipped by “spraying them with water.”  The officer said, “he was almost on top of them.”  Williams added: “This all happened directly in front of me.  That’s what I couldn’t believe.”

The charges against Bray include a Class A misdemeanor for reckless operation of a personal watercraft and a Class C misdemeanor for failure to have a boating education certificate.

We’ll pause here for Vol die-hards to say, “Aw, this isn’t any bigger deal than the busted windshield.”



And now we’ll get on to our points:


1.  Bray has been projected by many as being a potential first-round NFL draft pick.  But Bray continues to make dumb decisions on and off the field.  From a throat slash gesture during his freshman year that was later used in a “here’s what we call taunting” NCAA explainer video to the car incident to the Jet Ski incident to a WNML-AM/FM report (a Knoxville radio station) that Bray recently started a scuffle in Tennessee’s just-off-campus bar district, Bray is in danger of losing millions of dollars.  Perhaps he should call Ryan Mallett and ask him if “reputation” can influence the decisions of NFL general managers.

2.  The fact that the July 4th issue happened before Dooley blew off the vandalism issue tells us either a) he didn’t know about the Jet Ski incident or b) he doesn’t give a big hoot what his star athletes do in their spare time.  In fact, after the July 4th charges, Dooley told the throng at SEC Media Days that his quarterback had matured and made “lifestyle changes.”  Then the next week that same quarterback admitted to vandalizing a car.  Dooley handed out no suspension, just a quip.

3.  Looking the other way for stars seems to be a habit for Dooley.  One that — according to sources inside the UT football program — wasn’t appreciated by some of the head coach’s ex-assistants.  As noted, Bray has had maturity issues in the past.  Ditto star receiver Da’Rick Rogers who’s been arrested, yelled at a coach, tweeted about transferring, and skipped out on some workouts since arriving in Knoxville.  Star safety Janzen Jackson got umpteen chances from Dooley before he finally failed one too many drug tests and the school — not the coach — gave him the boot.  If there’s a truth in college athletics it’s this: The better the player, the more chances he’ll get.  Dooley is fast becoming the poster child for that statement.

4.  And that’s bad news for the coach as he enters a make-or-break season.  Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter would be considered the best player on the Volunteer team were he not coming off a serious knee injury.  As it stands, UT’s two best, proven, healthy players are Bray and Rogers who are more often a Distracting Duo than a Dynamic Duo.  With his job on the line, Dooley probably feels he can’t afford to sit either of his two top players.  But by continuing to allow them to make poor decisions and bring bad publicity to his team with no outward sign of any consequences, he’s only inviting them to continue to test him (and apparently the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, too).

5.  Oh, Bray didn’t get arrested for holding up someone outside a convenience store — as a few Lane Kiffin recruits once did.  He was “hot dogging” on a Jet Ski and tossing a few beer bottles at a car.  Boys will be boys.  But based on the decisions that this boy makes, it’s looking more and more like he might cost Dooley his job rather than save it.  Would you trust him to get through a full football season without another incident popping up?

People had a lot of laughs at Steve Spurrier when he suspended Stephen Garcia five times (with many of those coming after “boys will be boys” type events).  Well, at least Spurrier did suspend him.

Update: Bray reaches agreement in court - avoids a guilty plea.

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UT’s Dooley Says Rogers Has Some “Internal” Things To Take Care Of

Tennessee receiver Da’Rick Rogers wasn’t at practice today.  According to Derek Dooley, Rogers has some “internal” things to take care of before he’s welcomed back to spring practice.

There was no timetable given for a possible return.  And the coach stopped short of calling Rogers’ disappearance from team activities a suspension.

Rogers — who we told you earlier today posted a couple of curious tweets yesterday (“I cannot wait to talk to the media tomorrow.  It finally comes out.”) — has been silent on his Twitter account for the past 13 hours.

Looks like Dooley’s going to continue to let Rogers work through his issues without dismissing him from the Vol squad.  No surprise.  He also gave former Tennessee safety Janzen Jackson umpteen shots at redemption before that player finally forced his hand — reportedly — with failed drug test number umpteen-and-one.

For now, we await a new tweet from Rogers who also posted the cryptic “Georgia State.  Wasup?” last night.

When asked if Rogers is transferring, Dooley said today, “Nobody has told me that.”

I seem to remember Auburn’s Gene Chizik saying roughly the same thing when asked about reports that Mike Dyer would transfer to Arkansas State.

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UT’s Poole Says Dooley “Is Going To Rid” Of Players Doing The Wrong Things

Derek Dooley gave All-SEC safety Janzen Jackson chance after chance after chance.  But in the end, he finally gave one of the most talented players on his team the boot. 

Tailback Tauren Poole believes his coach has sent a message to the rest of the Vol team:

“I think it was a warning that Coach Dooley is not playing.  He’s about his business, that if you’re giong to do something, you’ve got to think about this organization’s reputation.  You’re representing something big, it’s bigger than me, bigger than us, bigger than coach.  This program is goign to be here after us, and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing it the right way.  Guys that aren’t doing that, he’s going to get rid of them.”

This writer says Dooley did the right thing by jettisoning Jackson.  While making his team worse… he made his program better.

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Substance Abuse Played Some Role In Jackson’s Dismissal At UT

Though Tennessee has given no specific reason for the dismissal of star safety Janzen Jackson yesterday, The Knoxville News Sentinel quotes sources who say the player “dealt with substance abuse problems during his time with the Vols.” reported yesterday that Jackson had failed multiple drug tests.

At this site, we have mentioned that our sources have confirmed multiple marijuana-related issues tied to Jackson.  Also, there have been radio reports in Knoxville claiming that Jackson spent time in rehab facilities at least twice since signing with UT.

Dooley has refused to give details as to what led him to finally dismiss the player.

“I don’t want to get into the details of it.  I’d rather not.  It’s been a long drama.  I’m still here for Janzen, and he knows it.  He may not want me to be, but I’m there.

Of course, I sat there and thought about a million things that maybe I could have done different (to help).  At the end of the day, you do what you think is best and ultimately it’s up to the young person to either follow your lead or choose not to.”

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Vols Offer Praise For Dooley And Assistants

Derek Dooley and the Vol coaching staff is standing behind All-SEC safety Janzen Jackson.  Having withdrawn from school, it’s questionable whether or not he will return to UT in the fall.  But Dooley has made it clear that he’ll be welcomed back to the football team once he’s cleared up some “very, very personal issues.”

Vol cornerback Anthony Anderson talked about his teammate and his coach yesterday.  “(The team) didn’t know the issue.  Coach just said that Janzen’s not going to be with us, and we didn’t know what it was for and we still don’t know really what it’s for.  But he said keep (Jackson) up, talk to him when you can and let him know you care about him and you’re hoping he gets back and you’re praying for him.”

Fellow cornerback Art Evans — himself back from a suspension — praised UT’s coaches for the way they treat their players.  “I know it just as well as they did with me.  It’s awesome to have coaches like that.  I’m not at any other school, so I can’t speak on any other school, but the coaches we have, they love you.  They’re going to cuss you out at the same time, but they’re also going to be there for you and help you understand not just football values but life values.”

If Jackson returns to Tennessee, he will have to get a one-time waiver from the NCAA allowing him to play despite not taking classes this semester.  He will also have to go before the UT student judiciary council relating to a drug-related incident in his dorm room last December.

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Vol DB Facing Domestic Assault Charge

Last week All-SEC safety Janzen Jackson withdrew from the University of Tennessee to deal with “very personal issues.”  Now fellow starting safety Brent Brewer has been suspended from the Vol team after being arrested over the weekend.

Good thing Derek Dooley lined up so many defensive backs on signing day.

Brewer — a sophomore Dooley converted from a baseball player to a starting footballer — was released on $1500 bond Sunday after a domestic assault charge had been filed agaisnt him.

“Without knowing all the facts, any domestic incident warrants a suspension from all team-related activities until a thorough investigation is concluded,” Dooley said via statement.  “We respect everyone’s right to the legal process, but also acknowledge a greater standard of conduct associated with the privilege of being a member of the Tennessee football team.”

Whether Brewer will receive a second chance like Jackson (who’s actually received more than two) remains to be seen.

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It Appears Muschamp Isn’t The Tough Judge He Claimed To Be

As soon as news emerged that Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins had been cited for possession of marijuana, the question rang out from the Atlantic to the Ozarks:

“How will Will Muschamp discipline the first player to get into trouble on his watch?”’s Chris Low asked that question.  So did Florida fan bloggers.  Heck, just about everyone asked that question.

And the answer?

“We are aware of the incident with Janoris Jenkins and will handle it internally at this time,” said the new coach’s press release.


When Muschamp took over in Gainesville, he promised a get-tough approach to Gators making bad headlines.  Discipline would be a pillar of his program.

But faced with a star player dumb to being rolling a joint in a public nightclub… Muschamp blinked.  “We’ll handle it internally.”  So much for “Dirty Harry.”

This should surprise no one, of course.  With increased media coverage, more player arrests are publicized these days.  As a result, coaches are under more scrutiny than ever before when it comes to the behavior of their players.  So they talk about discipline among the ranks.  They claim to target “quality young men” and not just guys with good 40 times.  Many even start special programs and classes designed to foster maturity and leadership skills in their athletes.  Why most even get tough with the occasional walk-on (or the four-star recruit who’s turned out to be more of a one-star type player).

But, boy, do they ever look the other way when a star stumbles.

This isn’t just a Muschamp issue, of course.  The last new coach to enter the conference talking tough was another Nick Saban protege — Derek Dooley at Tennessee.  Like Muschamp, he too has a star defensive back who has gotten himself into trouble with marijuana… on more than one occasion.  But All-SEC safety Janzen Jackson remains on the Volunteer football team. 

Lesson: When you hear tough talk, don’t take it seriously.

Personally, I’m not a “letter of the law” type of guy in the first place.  I’d be more likely to forgive a player and move on (at least to a point).  But it’s for that very reason that I would never introduce myself as some sort of rigid disciplinarian.

Most coaches would be much better off never bringing up discipline at all during an opening press conference.  Better to let fans and media learn about their disciplinary beliefs as off-field issues arise.  To make a big deal out of behavior and discipline and “leadership programs” right out of the gate only invites fans and media to roll their eyes when the first blue-chipper flubs and then gets the usual “internal discipline.”

To talk tough and not deliver just leaves most folks saying, “Oh.” 

As usual.

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Jackson Named 2nd Team Coaches All-SEC

Tennessee sophomore defensive back Janzen Jackson was named to the second team of the 2010 All-Southeastern Conference Coaches’ Football Team as announced today by the league. Jackson was the lone Volunteer named to the squad.

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