It is no secret that Clemson struggled in its season opening loss against Georgia, but head coach Dabo Swinney is not worried. In fact, Swinney is proud of the way his team has since taken ownership of their loss against the Bulldogs, especially wide receiver Justyn Ross.
With some costly mistakes for the Tigers on Saturday, including a missed route that resulted in Georgia’s lone touchdown of the game, Ross is disappointed in his less-than-stellar performance, but Swinney is confident his veteran receiver will be just fine.
“He’s locked in,” Swinney told the media on Tuesday. “He’s mad. He was locked in before… He had great preparation, he had unbelievable practice. He was just very disappointed in himself, but complete ownership of what he’s got to do, and you’ll see it, he’ll be fine. He’s going to be just fine.”
Saturday’s matchup was a long time coming for Ross. The redshirt junior, who had what could have been a career-ending injury in the Spring of 2020, hadn’t touched a playing field since the Tigers’ loss to LSU in the National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in New Orleans in 2020. And while he struggled a bit, leaving the matchup with just four receptions for 26 yards, Swinney knows the game mentality will come with time.
“Justyn did not have a good game” Swinney said. “He did some good things, but the standard that we have for him, and he has for himself… That guy hadn’t played in six hundred something days. For him, it would have been nice maybe to have a little different game to kind of go get your feet wet, but it is what it is. It wasn’t from a physical standpoint or anything like that, he just mentally had some critical errors.”
Ross had what Swinney referred to as “just one of them days” in his first game back, but the Tigers’ head coach has no doubt Ross will bounce back and lead his wide receiver room to greatness this season.
“I don’t know if it is game speed or just hadn’t been in that type of mode from an energy [standpoint],” Swinney said. “It’s just a lot going on, it’s been a long time plus who knows what he’s dealing with when he mentally just made mistakes he doesn’t make. Physically he’s fine, but mentally, he just made critical errors and he hadn’t done that in practice. He just had one of them days, it happens, but he’ll bounce back. He’s going to have a great year; all those guys are.”
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!