Following a practice which included an emphasis on situational work in the red zone and on special teams according to Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, the focus of post practice interviews settled on Tennessee Tech junior wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, a high profile transfer from the University of Tennessee who has already made a big impact on the field for the Golden Eagles despite only being in Cookeville for approximately two weeks.
Former Tennessee Volunteer wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers looks to be a focal point for Tennessee Tech on offense.
In two games for Tennessee Tech, Rogers has caught eight passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, and is a player who figures to receive a ton of attention from the Oregon defense come Saturday.
"He's a good player," said Kelly in assessing Rogers Wednesday. "He's tall, very athletic, he's about 6'3", he can run after the catch. He's a kid if, certainly if they throw him the ball to him and it looks like they're targeting him a lot, we need to wrap him up and get some guys to the ball carrier. He's a good sized receiver no matter where he is, whether it's Tennessee or Tennessee Tech."
For the man expected to lock horns with Rogers on Saturday afternoon, sophomore cornerback Terrance Mitchell say he doesn't see much difference between Rogers and some of the other top-flight receivers he faces in the Pac-12 Conference.
"I feel like he's just like the other Pac-12 receivers," said Mitchell. "There's a lot of good receivers. [Rogers] is a big receiver. He's big, but you just have to cover him."
Mitchell added that, given the chance, he'd relish the opportunity to shadow Rogers.
"I hope so, I hope so," grinned Mitchell. "We have our system [on defense] of what we do, but if it comes down to it, I'd love to take him man-to-man and just follow him."
Rogers won't be the only aspect of the Tennessee Tech offense that the Ducks will have to deal with. The Golden Eagles' pace of play on that side of the ball has been compared favorably to Oregon's, with folks around the Tech program proclaiming it to be "The Fastest 60 Minutes in Football." When asked this afternoon if Tennessee Tech's offense was as fast as Oregon's, Kelly pleaded unfamiliarity.
"We don't know," remarked Kelly. "We don't watch their games, we just watch game film, so it's stop and start. We don't watch the entire game. I couldn't tell you how fast they line up between plays. When we watch coaches tape, it starts at the beginning of the play and ends at the end of the play and then goes to the next play. Until we see that part in person, we really can't tell."
Mitchell, on the other hand, was a little more skeptical.
"Nothing can really compare to us," said Mitchell. "They spread it out and force us to make tackles on the perimeter again. It's just quick, quick, quick passes, quick reads and play actions, so you just got to keep your eyes right."
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