CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Football has often been described as the ultimate team sport. 

After spending most of the 2020 offseason apart and being responsible for their own preparation, the Clemson football team has been back together this spring and summer and sixth-year linebacker James Skalski said that's had a very positive impact when it comes to building team chemistry.

"As a team, it's huge, you know," Skalski said Thursday at the ACC Kickoff. "We had everyone in separate spaces, working on their own diligently of course, but you don't get that cohesion. You spend nine months out of the year training for a little bit of football. A majority of this game is working with your team or training with your team. You take that aspect out of it, it's weird. Last year was weird. This year feels right, it feels good."

The unusual circumstances of the 2020 season had a negative impact on teams, some more so than others, and according to Skalski it hurt the Tigers in a multitude of ways. 

"You don't get people challenging each other," Skalski said. "You don't get to work out the dynamics of leadership. You know, who's gonna emerge, who can you rely on. You're not seeing who's dogging it in conditioning. There's so many factors that kind of establish the food chain on a team that we didn't get. So this year, we get that."

Skalski said there's just no comparison between working out on your own and being in a strength program in an organized team setting and the quarterback of the Clemson defense is happy to be back on campus being guided by a coaching staff that has each and every player's best interest at heart.

"As far as personally training, I don't care who you are, you are not going to train at the level you do when you're with your teammates or with Coach Batson," Skalski said. "You're just not. You physically cannot will yourself to do what they force you to do, or encourage you to do. So it's night and day, it's night and day being back in Clemson around a staff that's fully dedicated to making you the best version of yourself, compared to relying on whoever you got at home."

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This article first appeared on FanNation All Clemson and was syndicated with permission.

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