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‚Äôs like to get hit and punch back.
He‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 41-30 win.
‚ÄúIt happens,‚Äù Langley said. ‚ÄúDarrelle Revis has been beat before. Patrick Peterson‚Äôs been beat before. Deion Sanders‚Äôs been beat before. I‚Äôve been beat before. That‚Äôs what playing DB is about. You‚Äôre going to get beat, but you have to have a short-term memory, come back and make a play the next play.‚Äù
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.
‚ÄúThey call it a [pass break-up], I‚Äôm going to call it a dropped pick,‚Äù Langley said.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham‚Äôs words of advice to Langley: ‚ÄúKeep playing. If he makes that interception there, then you guys are talking about how the young guy‚Äôs making plays now. He had a chance to make a play.‚Äù
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.
‚ÄúWe felt like we could throw it over their head,‚Äù South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said on his TV show. ‚ÄúWe did a few times.‚Äù
Jones scored his first touchdown in the right corner of the end zone and the second on the left side.
‚ÄúI got caught peeking in the backfield a lot,‚Äù Langley said. ‚ÄúActually, I got caught peeking in the backfield a lot in high school. That‚Äôs a habit I‚Äôve got to break.‚Äù
Grantham defended Langley, who he said did what coaches have asked him to do.
‚ÄúThat wasn‚Äôt all on him either, some of the plays,‚Äù Grantham said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs 11 guys out there and everybody‚Äôs got to communicate.‚Äù
That‚Äôs likely an indirect reference to safety Corey Moore on one of the touchdown passes.
‚ÄúThe first one was a miscommunication between me and the safety,‚Äù Langley said. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs my inexperience. ‚Ä¶ I can‚Äôt blame that on him. I‚Äôm not a freshman. There‚Äôs nothing freshman about me except my class schedule.‚Äù
That‚Äôs the kind of attitude that fellow freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins said Langley carries with him all the time.
‚ÄúLangley has a strong mindset,‚Äù Wiggins said. ‚ÄúHe doesn‚Äôt 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.‚Äù
Junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera encouraged Langley on the field after the second touchdown against him.
‚ÄúYou can‚Äôt worry about one play, you‚Äôve just got to play the next one,‚Äù Herrera said.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not easy to play corner in this league or any league for that matter in college football,‚Äù Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre going to get challenged, especially if you‚Äôre a rookie. He got beat once or twice but he hung in there.‚Äù
Langley figures to be challenged again when the Bulldogs play next on Sept. 21 against North Texas.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre going to know where he‚Äôs at so they‚Äôre going to throw at you so be ready to make a play,‚Äù Grantham said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a guy that has the mindset to do that.‚Äù