Clemson's Skalski Providing Security For Young Linebackers

Travis Boland

Senior linebacker James Skalski was asked Monday about a late touchdown the Clemson defense gave up against Wake Forest Saturday night.

With the Tigers leading 37-6, the Demon Deacons threw a touchdown pass with 2:34 left in the season opener for both teams. Skalski said it was a result of needing to get younger guys in the game game.

"Those younger guys need to learn and experience a game against another opponent," Skalski said. "If that means giving up a few more yards and few more points, to grow, then I think we're okay with that. Obviously we don't want them to score, but we understand its a part of (the growth)."

Skalski, who was forced to sit out the first half due to a targeting call in last year's CFP National Championship game against LSU, said he was impressed with the linebacker play against Wake Forest.

"I thought we had a solid rotation," Skalski said. "We knew we had to have a lot of guys that would need to be ready, and I kinda liked how it all worked out. You had Jake (Venables) and (Baylon) Spector to start the game, and that's a solid group. Then, to start the second half was me and Keith (Maguire)."

Skalski said he was paired with most of the younger guys in practice, knowing he would miss the first half, so he was prepared for the rotation.

"I could give those young guys safety blankets when it comes to setting fronts," Skalski said. "I saw Keith run around making plays Vonte (LaVonta Bentley) made a huge hit on that fourth down. Just seeing those guys be comfortable playing ball, not really worrying about seeing things before they happen. I was helping them out and I thought it showed. They were able to play free and fast."

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