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Clemson's Swinney Discusses What Side of 'Struggle' Uiagalelei's On, Where Ross Will Play

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on ACC Network's "The Huddle" that quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and receiver Justyn Ross are both in a better place heading into Louisville game.

Dabo Swinney believes Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is in a better place heading into the Tigers' road game at Louisville. 

"I think he's on the other side of the struggle, the storm if you will," Swinney said during an appearance on ACC Network's "The Huddle" on Saturday morning. "No question he has not played anywhere near to his capabilities, but we haven't been as good around him either. We're going to start our sixth different offensive line tonight in nine games. We haven't had a lot of continuity and that's not good for your quarterback's confidence."

Swinney believes Uiagalelei, who ranks 11th among ACC quarterbacks in passing yards (161.4) per game and 14th in QB rating, was affected by "external factors" and that rough start in the opener against No. 1 Georgia. 


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"I'm really thankful for what he's been able to go through this year because it's going to make him better," Swinney said. "This is a great, great young man and an unbelievably talented player. he's going to have a great career and a lot of success. I like where he is. He's been in the grease pit a little while. He's got some thick skin. He's learned what's important He's really dialed in and focused. He's become a much better leader. I'm proud of him."

Swinney also discussed the role of receiver Justyn Ross, who played mainly in the slot position for the first seven games before moving more outside last week. He responded with six catches for 85 yards.

"We've always moved him around and we'll continue to do that," Swinney said. "You'll see him where we need him but he will play a little more outside. The biggest thing for him is continuity, having that rhythm and things clicking the way they're supposed to."

Ross, who's 20th in the ACC in yards per game, hasn't had the kind of all-conference season most were expecting from the junior, but Swinney said it's taken time for him to overcome "19 months of a traumatic experience" following last year's neck surgery. 

"He's had to push through some things," Swinney said. "Hopefully as an offense, we're starting to hit our stride a little bit. We've been running the ball better than we were at the beginning of the year. Now we're running it well and I think that'll create some opportunites for (Ross). Hopefully, we can build on what we did last week."