ATHENS - Two weeks ago, freshman Brendan Langley was announced as Georgia's starting cornerback. The word quickly reached the offices of the South Carolina football team, to which Langley had once been committed, before reneging and signing with his home-state team.
South Carolina secondary coach Grady Brown, who still had a warm relationship with Langley, passed along his congratulations. It was nice, but considering South Carolina and Georgia were meeting a week later, Langley knew what that meant.
"Once I heard that, I said, OK they know I'm over there, it's gonna be coming," Langley said.
And it did, early and often, and it did not go well for Langley. The Gamecocks completed eight passes against Langley, racking up 110 yards and two touchdowns, according to The State newspaper. Put another way, Langley was on TV quite often during the broadcast, and not for the right reasons.
Two days later, Langley was feeling reflective about it.
"It happens. Darrelle Revis has been beat before. Patrick Peterson has been beat before. Deion Sanders has been beat before. I've been beat before. That's what playing DB is all about," Langley said. "You're gonna get beat, but you've gotta have a short-term memory, come back and make a play the next play. Which I believe I did for the most part."
And what plays were those? Langley mentioned a sideline pass that he knocked away, but appeared could have been an interception if he had turned in enough time.
"I came away with a PBU (pass break-up)," Langley said. "I call it a dropped pick."
Otherwise, it was a rough night. He was beaten twice by Gamecock receiver Nick Jones for touchdowns, once on a corner route, and once on a fly pattern. Then there was the 75-yard run by Mike Davis in which Langley was oblivious to the run behind him, still covering his receiver while Davis ran about 25 yards behind.
It wasn't all Langley's fault. The first touchdown included what he called a miscommunication between himself and a safety. But even then Langley blamed his inexperience, saying his teammate right assumed he should know the right play, because being a freshman isn't an excuse.
"There's nothing freshman about me except my class schedule," Langley said. "He already expects me to know that, I appreciate him expecting me to know that, and I should already know that. I'll get it together."
Langley said his biggest problem was peaking too much into the backfield, watching for the snap. It was a problem in high school too, he said, so he has to train himself in practice to focus on his own responsibility.
"Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent, and as you can see my eyes are permanently in the backfield for most of that game," he said. "I've gotta work on training my eyes to read my keys and do what I'm supposed to do. I can only control my attitude and my effort, so if I only do that I'll be fine."
Safety Corey Moore and inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera, both juniors, were two players that Langley said were encouraging him during the game to shake it off. And defensive coordinator Todd Grantham never took him out, letting him play through it. In the end, Georgia won the game, so it can be chalked up as a very painful learning experience.
"I'd much rather have this happen the second game than the SEC championship," Langley said. "So I'm gonna learn from it, go on about my business, get it better into the season. And we'll see what happens toward the end."