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Clemson Football

James Skalski: 'I can't think of my life without the game of football'

July 24, 2021

Q. You had five weeks between games mid-season last year. Did that affect the team in any positive way, any negative way? What about the rhythm and that disruption?

JAMES SKALSKI: I think you got guys like Trevor going out, D.J. having to step in, you got key pieces to your team that missed some time, that allows young people to step in. Overall I think it helped us ultimately. Gave some guys more experience in some crucial times later in the year.

Q. People are accustomed to player turnover at Clemson. Your defense this year is unusual in that you hardly lost anybody. What are your expectations for your unit this year?

JAMES SKALSKI: It's the same every year. It's play good team defense, be in the top five in most of the categories. But for me this year, I just want to see all three levels playing together. I think last year was just a little dysfunctional at times. I think we have all the things we need to glue it all together and have a great defense.

Q. As you talked about the defensive pieces, the continuity, one of those key pieces Lannden Zanders, what have you seen from him in the off-season and what do you expect from him?

JAMES SKALSKI: Very unique guy in his athleticism. Real bendy. Great tackler, too, great in open field. We're real deep across the board everywhere.

Lannden is a guy that puts in work, keeps his head down, stays quiet. Does his job.

I think another year, I think he was battling injury a little bit, so a whole 'nother year in the weight room, I think you'll see a completely different player this year.

Q. Can you tag on to what Coach said about you ending your career as a coach and what has influenced you to take that decision?

JAMES SKALSKI: I just show up every day and I'm in love with what I do. When you get old like me, you start to think about, What am I going to do for the rest of my life? I'm getting to that point.

I just can't think of my life without the game of football or sports in some way. Maybe I'm not the next Coach V or Coach Swinney, but in some form or fashion I'll be around this game. That's just how I see it.

It's something I love. I can't get enough of it. So I got to have it.

Q. Not many people get to say they played six years of college football. With that being said, how excited are you to get the season started especially against Georgia?

JAMES SKALSKI: I mean, I'm very excited. It truly is the last one, so... I got to go out with a bang (smiling).

We usually end our regular season in Charlotte. It's a pretty cool experience getting to play a team the caliber of Georgia in a place luckily we're familiar with. It's exciting.

We're happy we get that caliber of opponent so that we can hopefully prove some people wrong.

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James Skalski: 'I can't think of my life without the game of football'

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