Sizing up the Yellow Jackets

CLEMSON - Chad Morris' hurry-up, no-huddle offense has to square off with one of the country's best defenses on Thursday night when Georgia Tech comes to town.

Under the direction of first-year coordinator Ted Roof, Georgia Tech is 12th in the country in total defense [329.6 yards] and 14th in scoring defense [18.8 points]. The Yellow Jackets are 10th against the run [103.5 yards] and 54th against the pass [226.1 yards].

"They're one of the top defenses in the country…very impressive," Morris said. "They're playing extremely hard. They've got some really good playmakers on that side of the ball.

"Their safeties are great tacklers in space. We've got our work cut out for us. They've got some up front guys that are very disruptive, really good pass rushers off the edge."

The top safety is senior Jemea Thomas, who's broken up six passes and grabbed one interception.

"He'll play safety. He'll play corner. He plays nickel/SAM. He's all over the field," Morris said. "He's very similar to [Lamarcus Joyner] from Florida State, as far as tackling in space and always being around the ball."

Roof's best linebackers are Brandon Watts and Jabari Hunt-Days. Watts, the strong-side starter, is second on the team with 47 tackles. Hunt-Days, the man in the middle, is fourth with 36 tackles and tied for third with 4.5 tackles for loss.

"Those guys really stand out," Morris said.

Defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu might be the best NFL prospect on the entire Georgia Tech roster. He's fifth among ACC pass rushers with six sacks.

"We've faced some guys very similar to him, but he's extremely quick," Morris said. "He's got a great up the field move and can come back underneath you. He does a really good job of that."

Emmanuel Dieke, the starting defensive end opposite of Attaochu, and defensive tackle Euclid Cummings, were also mentioned by Morris. This season, Cummings has 33 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss. Dieke has 19 tackles and a sack.

In their last three games [Syracuse, Virginia, Pitt], Georgia Tech has given up an average of 11.7 points per game.

"Those guys are doing a good job of putting those guys in position to make plays, and they're making plays in space. They've done a good job" Morris said. "They're one of the top defenses we've seen this year and one of the top defenses in the country."

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