Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Ross Readies for Redemption

Mississippi State fought through some self inflicted wounds on Saturday night. Bulldog junior pass catcher Fred Ross had a pair of drops and a muffed punt that led to a Southern Miss field goal. The Bulldogs were able to overcome the early adversity and win on the road 34-16.

Now preparing to take on the Tigers of LSU in the 2015 home opener, Ross is ready to get back on to the playing field and cleanse the palate with another ball game.

"I have been working on the little things in practice," Ross said. "I had a couple of uncharacteristic drops. I have been working on seeing the ball all the way in. Just making sure I'm freezing the point and going back to the basics."

Physical errors are part of the game, but Ross felt that perhaps some first game jitters caused him to lose focus a couple of times on Saturday night.

"I definitely feel it was more mental," the Texas native said. "I would say I wasn't focused and seeing the ball all the way in. Just trying to do too much, trying to run before the ball is even getting there."

The Bulldogs played well at times, but had to battle through a bit of malaise in the first half that saw their offensive output limited by just 22 snaps through two quarters.

"I definitely got that vibe," Ross admitted. "I just felt like the team felt a lot of pressure. Everyone was just trying too hard to be perfect instead of just playing Mississippi State football."

The night started pretty well for Ross who reeled in a Dak Prescott pass that set the Bulldogs up with a first and goal after a 44 yard reception. The talented junior reports that his pre-snap read told him that he should be able to find an opening in the Southern Miss secondary.

"I just came in motion and saw that it was zone," Ross explained. "I came off the ball and me and Dak made eye contact. The middle of the field was wide open and he hit me in stride. I just tried to make a play."

With the road win now secured in the positive column of the 2015 tally, Ross is eager to get back into a Maroon jersey and play before a sold out Davis Wade stadium.

"I feel like it will be a big confidence boost for us, because last year we didn't lose in Davis Wade," Ross said. "The fans are going to be rowdy. We're ready to play ball."

Playing ball this week will feature building a game plan without a lot of information on how the Tigers will play defense. With the home opener for LSU washed out last weekend, the Bulldogs are essentially basing their attack on coaching tendencies from previous stops and seasons of the Tiger assistants.

"We know they are going to get in your face and play bump and run," Ross said. "They are going to have that LSU swagger. I just feel that we need to come out focused. Just come out polished up and work on all of the little things in practice. We should be fine."

The Bulldogs and Tigers know each other pretty well since they share spots in one of college football's most competitive division, the SEC West. Ross says the familiarity helps, but the Bulldogs are taking nothing for granted.

"I wouldn't say it's easier, but you know what you're going to get," Ross said. "You definitely know what you're going to get from playing them in years previously. Those guys are going to be chippy out there. They are going to play with that swagger. We just have to come out and execute. It's as simple as that. 

"Everybody is fired up. When we go out there at practice, we all know what's at stake. It's two top 25 teams going at it. What more could you ask for?"


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