When Brendan Langley went home to Marietta this summer, he stopped by a neighborhood gym for some sparring sessions in a boxing ring.
So the Georgia freshman cornerback already knows what it’s like to get hit and punch back.
He’s not backing down after losing a couple of high-profile rounds last Saturday with South Carolina receiver Nick Jones, who beat Langley for a pair of touchdowns in Georgia’s 41-30 win.
“It happens,” Langley said. “Darrelle Revis has been beat before. Patrick Peterson’s been beat before. Deion Sanders’s been beat before. I’ve been beat before. That’s what playing DB is about. You’re going to get beat, but you have to have a short-term memory, come back and make a play the next play.”
Langley said he did just that after the touchdown catches against him of 18 and 31 yards in the second quarter. He came back to break up a pass intended for Damiere Byrd in the fourth quarter.
“They call it a [pass break-up], I’m going to call it a dropped pick,” Langley said.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s words of advice to Langley: “Keep playing. If he makes that interception there, then you guys are talking about how the young guy’s making plays now. He had a chance to make a play.”
South Carolina and quarterback Connor Shaw went after the 6-foot-1, 192-pound Langley, who was a South Carolina commitment out of Kell High School until decommiting and pledging to Georgia last November.
Langley had a cordial talk with South Carolina coach Grady Brown before the game last week and shook hands with Gamecocks defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward afterwards.
In between, the Gamecocks tested Langley.
“We felt like we could throw it over their head,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said on his TV show. “We did a few times.”
Jones scored his first touchdown in the right corner of the end zone and the second on the left side.
“I got caught peeking in the backfield a lot,” Langley said. “Actually, I got caught peeking in the backfield a lot in high school. That’s a habit I’ve got to break.”
Grantham defended Langley, who he said did what coaches have asked him to do.
“That wasn’t all on him either, some of the plays,” Grantham said. “It’s 11 guys out there and everybody’s got to communicate.”
That’s likely an indirect reference to safety Corey Moore on one of the touchdown passes.
“The first one was a miscommunication between me and the safety,” Langley said. “That’s my inexperience. … I can’t blame that on him. I’m not a freshman. There’s nothing freshman about me except my class schedule.”
That’s the kind of attitude that fellow freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins said Langley carries with him all the time.
“Langley has a strong mindset,” Wiggins said. “He doesn’t really let those type of things get to him. If you were watching him, they would score on him and he would come back to the sideline, take criticism, get the plays and just go back out there and play.”
Junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera encouraged Langley on the field after the second touchdown against him.
“You can’t worry about one play, you’ve just got to play the next one,” Herrera said.
“It’s not easy to play corner in this league or any league for that matter in college football,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “You’re going to get challenged, especially if you’re a rookie. He got beat once or twice but he hung in there.”
Langley figures to be challenged again when the Bulldogs play next on Sept. 21 against North Texas.
“They’re going to know where he’s at so they’re going to throw at you so be ready to make a play,” Grantham said. “He’s a guy that has the mindset to do that.”