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CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Swinney says he could field a good offense with the players that are missing.
Swinney says he could field a good offense with the players that are missing.

Wednesday Update: Justyn Ross turning pro, Tigers down to bare bones on offense


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says he could field a good offense with the personnel that will be missing Saturday, but he still believes in his team and loves the fight they’ve shown this season.

Swinney spoke with the media following Wednesday’s practice, the last media availability ahead of Saturday’s game. Clemson (7-3 overall, 5-2 ACC) hosts Wake Forest (9-1, 6-0) in a pivotal ACC Atlantic Division matchup at noon on ESPN.

If Wake Forest wins, the Demon Deacons are the division champs and will represent the Atlantic in the ACC Championship Game. If Clemson wins, Wake can still win the division by winning at Boston College the following week. If Wake loses both games and NC State loses one of its two remaining games, the Tigers will win the division.

Here are the updates from the availability:

*Swinney said they are “lean” and could be a lot of teams with the offensive personnel that are on the shelf right now or have transferred out. He said if they put Will Taylor (knee) at quarterback they would have an entire offense.

Justyn Ross will have surgery Thursday and they will get him back as soon as possible. They are not sure if he will be ready for a bowl. Swinney also announced that Ross will turn pro. He says Ross doesn’t need another season in college. He has plenty of tape and he has played through injury. The last play of his career – fighting for extra yards – is the epitome of his career. He fought to get back from injury and fought on every play.

"It's not going to take long for him to get well, I don't know if he can play in the bowl game or not but he'll be ready to train and do what he needs to do for the (NFL) combine," Swinney said. "He doesn't need another season here. He's going pro. He's going to be a great one. He's more than ready. He would've been ready last year if he hadn't got hurt."

*Quarterback Taisun Phommachanh is now questionable (shoulder). He has gotten a little better each day.

*With the sight of Frank Ladson, Joseph Ngata, and Justyn Ross on the sidelines, Swinney said he can’t make sense of any of it. Last year it was injuries and COVID-19 and they had quarantine issues. He feels like they were healthier last season, especially along the offensive line. Over 13 years, they have been a very healthy team, but this has been their year when it all piles up.

*Swinney said they have been fortunate that the defense has been healthy for most of the season, despite losing Lannden Zanders and Bryan Bresee.

*Wake Forest has a good left tackle and Swinney thinks that the Demon Deacons have the most cohesive group that they’ve played. They are a well-oiled machine and have a lot of experience.

*He says he is proud of his staff for what they’ve done this season. He said the players and coaches have battled and they’ve won five out of six. They went back to basics in the program and they’ve focused on those things. He said the coaches have really focused on trying to reach. This has given him an opportunity to teach for the first time since 2014, and he has had a chance to coach and teach the seniors. This is a good group and a close team. He says that he loves their fight and they want to finish well. A lot of teams face adversity, and you find out what kind of character you have.

*He wants the crowd to get behind this team Saturday and be very vocal and support them. He wants this group to finish this season in the best way possible, he wants them to get to 9-3 and need that eighth win.

*Swinney said they don’t have a lot more than five offensive linemen that are good to go. He said they will see what they have Thursday and then run five guys out there.

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