Darwin Rogers believes that he will be able to draw a lot of positives out of the competition and it will help him become a better player.
“I want to win the job, obviously, but we still need to help each other out,” Rogers said. “We are still teammates and regardless of who wins the [starting] job, the other guy will still get his opportunities during the game. We are both going to be in and out of games, and we need to help each other out so we can help the team out.”
“It’s a long season. This competition is something that will help us throughout the season and during games. It’s all about communication and helping each other make big plays”
Whoever ends up winning the competition, Darwin feels like the offense suits both him and Chris Coyle well even though a lot is asked of this position under the new staff’s offense.
“You have to know how to play half back and tight end,” Rogers explained. “You not only have to be athletic enough, you have to be smart enough as well. I believe I fit that position well. Chris and I [both] fit the position well. We are big enough but we also have the athleticism to run and catch the ball down the field.”
Darwin believes that the communication aspect of the game was improved greatly during the team’s stay at Camp Tontozona last week and feels that benefits if that experience will be far reaching into the season.
“Camp T was my first time going up there and seeing the grounds,” Rogers described. “I heard a lot of good things about Camp T, but was glad I could experience it for myself. Camp was a whole different change, being up there in the forest with no distractions. Up there by ourselves, we were spending time together like a family.
“We all helped each other out through the whole week. It affirmed what Coach Graham has been saying, that we are ‘All In’.”
Transferring from Arizona Western junior college, Rogers has quickly recognized the differences in practice style.
“The biggest difference is [that] junior college was all about fundamentals,” Rogers stated. “Here at ASU we practice hard and work on our technique every day. At JUCO, practice was short and afterwards you would leave and go do something else. Here you are responsible for watching film, and doing extra work just to keep up with everyone because every player is working so hard.”
Rogers feels fortunate to have arrived in Tempe in the spring, and feels that 15 practices he was able to partake in at the time will be invaluable to his growth as a player.
“Being here since spring helped me a lot,” Rogers admitted. “I was able to learn the plays, get ahead in the playbook, and I was able to meet the coaches. Most importantly I was able to see the difference in practice style [from junior college] and had time to make changes to my game.”
To compensate for the big difference is practice style, Rogers knew he had to put in extra work during the summer to be prepared for fall camp.
“I had to get in shape,” Rogers recalled. “That was the biggest thing [because] in spring I came in having no experience in a no-huddle offense. It took a while for me to adjust because I was used to going to a huddle and catching your breath. There was a long break between spring and fall camp and it was an opportunity to make myself better. I knew I had to get in shape in the summer to be successful in the fall.”
Now that fall camp is over and the team is less than a week and half away from the season opener, the tight end feels that the bar has been raised on what the coaches and players expect out of the offense.
“The coaches expect us to compete and to do everything during practice sharp and crisp,” Rogers commented. “They want everything to be perfect, [and] when we start playing games, they want our offense to be explosive.”
When looking back on his decision to sign with the Sun Devils, Rogers said that he couldn’t be happier with everything that has transpired ever since.
“The coaches are great,” Rogers described. “They have been treating me well. They are on us to make us better, but it’s a great opportunity to come to ASU and try to make the tight end position relevant at this school again.
“Growing up I wasn’t pushed hard enough. If you are the best player you can do drills on your own and nobody watches you. Here he [Coach Graham] pushes you and has the highest expectations for you as a player.”