Tennessee football fans vividly remember the twist of fate that sent the Volunteers 2011 season into a downward spiral.
That was in September, when highly touted wide-out Justin Hunter fell to the turf in Gainesville, Fla., grasping his left knee in agony – an ACL tear that sidelined the star for the remainder of the year.
With less than eight days before Tennessee’s Aug. 31 opener against North Carolina State, the Vols will once more be without one of its top receivers.
There's not one player on the team that we're not prepared to play without. Head coach Derek DooleyAs Derek Dooley announced Thursday, Da’Rick Rogers’ playing time at Tennessee is likely over due to his indefinite suspension.
“Our expectation is that he won’t [return to the program],” Dooley said Thursday morning at the conclusion of the Vols practice.
Rogers, who led the SEC in receiving last year with 67 catches for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns, was informed of his suspension on Wednesday for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Rogers has a history of being in the coach's doghouse throughout his tenure at Tennessee.
"When you get into the coaching profession, you quickly learn that the number one professional hazard is the behavior of 18-22 year olds," Dooley said.
Dooley said a combination of “recent events” led to Rogers’ suspension.
The one time five-star recruit has spent time off the practice field this offseason, facing a two-week ban from team activities early this year sparking rumors he would transfer. Rogers was also arrested after a fight at a local bar in 2010.
“There’s not one player on the team that we’re not prepared to play without,” Dooley said.
With Rogers suspension, UT turns to junior college wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to fill the starting role alongside Hunter.
"Our focus is on the guys here and what opponent is coming up next," Dooley said. "It's a great quality opponent so that is where we are. We had a real good practice and the players are going to get a couple of days off to recover physically and then we will crank up heavy game week come Sunday."
The Vols' matchup against N.C. State will be aired on ESPNU live at 7:30 p.m.