Hangin' with the Chad

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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knows that Georgia Tech’s defense has struggled this season, but he also knows that when it comes to playing this Saturday against the Yellow Jackets, the numbers won’t matter.

Georgia Tech is ranked 70th in the nation in total defense – giving up just under 400 yards per game – but after a decent start in a loss at Virginia Tech and wins over Presbyterian and Virginia, the Jackets have struggled on the defensive side of the ball.

That changed two weeks ago when the Yellow Jackets gave up 42 points and 609 offensive yards to the Miami Hurricanes, the most yards Georgia Tech allowed in a single game since 1977. Last week, the defense was supposed to bounce back against Middle Tennessee St., but instead allowed 510 yards and 49 points in a disappointing loss at home.

Morris said Monday that he knows the stats and figures, but also knows that the Jackets entered last year’s game against Clemson on a two-game losing streak and came away with a victory, forcing five Clemson turnovers.

“We were playing them coming in on a two-game losing streak, too,” Morris said Monday. “They had lost their previous two and we roll into town and obviously, they beat us. It’s real similar. They lost their last two games. I’ll tell you what we’re going to get. We’re going to get their absolute best.”

Morris did say that last year’s loss was as much about Clemson’s turnovers as it was anything defensive coordinator Al Groh did schematically.

“Five turnovers were the big things. Three interceptions and two fumbles,” Morris said. “It’s hard to beat anybody with five turnovers. You have to give them credit in bringing a lot of pressure early and putting pressure on our young running backs to see if they could pass protect. The second thing – they wanted to see how a young quarterback would respond with pressure. This year, we will get their best, and they have some guys that have been injured that they expect to get back.”

Morris on Ga. Tech defensive front

“We’ve seen them play a little bit more four-down this year than they have in the past.”

On his playcalling style

“I’ve got a play for anything you want to call. Let’s do it. Fourth-and-whatever, let’s go for it. That’s just me.”

On the fourth down call last week

“I thought it was a great call. You’ve got to have confidence in your guys to go get it. But we didn’t make it. We can’t get into a rut like that. We’ve done too well, to this point.”

On the offensive line

“I think those guys have improved. I thought David BeasleyDavid Beasley
RS So. Offensive Guard
#68 6-4, 315
Columbus, GA

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played the best out of all of them up front [versus Boston College]. I did think there were some areas that we weren’t physical in. But, overall, for the most point, they played well. They protected the quarterback well.”

On how Nuk Hopkins can improve

“The first couple of games, he was really good with the ball in his hands, but was awful with the ball not in his hands. When we weren’t throwing him the ball, he wasn’t doing a whole lot. The big challenge to Nuk - you’ve got to improve your game without the ball in your hands, become more physical and tougher. I thought he did that. But I thought this was as well-rounded a game as he’s played - from blocking and, obviously, from a receiving standpoint.”

On healthy of Sammy Waktins

"He's feeling a lot better. That's good to hear. But I would anticipate he would be able to play. Again, today's Monday. I'm just the offensive coordinator. I'm not a doctor. If he doesn’t play, we will have plenty of guys ready to step in and make plays.”

On how to game plan if Watkins isn’t available

“We don’t know. That is something that kind of hit late last week. You pretty much game plan all week long and Thursday or Friday you had to readjust things. It was a late night Thursday night, readjusting the game plan because he was a big part of it. Regardless if he is ready or not this week, we will have a great plan.”

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