ATHENS — Lewis Cine appreciates the compliments, but he took a pass on the so-called ‘rat poison’ that the Georgia defense is a level above others.
“I wouldn’t say that, I think we made a whole lot of mistakes,” Cine said. “We’re not as good as you might think we are in a way, because we have a lot of things to fix, you know what I mean?”
The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs scored a 40-13 win over South Carolina on Saturday night, but the Gamecocks struck deep on four passes of more than 35 yards, totaled more than 300 yards and converted 8 of 17 times on third down.
The Georgia defense, however, dug in and allowed just one touchdown, minimizing the damage on the scoreboard.
Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer, a former UGA assistant under Kirby Smart, anointed the Bulldogs’ defense as the best in the nation.
WATCH: Shane Beamer’s epic rant on Georgia defense
Cine, however, seemed to indicate Beamer will see during his film review there were more holes in the secondary than his quarterbacks had time to notice.
“It’s one thing when some offense doesn’t notice it and they don’t pick up on it now,” Cine said. “But I’m pretty sure down the line, if we don’t fix it, a team is going to expose us.”
That’s what happened in 2020, when a celebrated Georgia defense got shredded in losses to Alabama (564 yards, 41 points) and Florida (571 yards, 44 points).
“We’ve got to go back to the lab,” Cine said, “fix everything, and tighten everything up.”
The Georgia defensive front is certainly doing its part, something Cine said he and his fellow defensive backs greatly appreciate.
“That makes my job so much easier because I don’t have to cover guys forever,” Cine said. “These guys... they know what route they’re doing, they know where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be (there), and the fact that the D-Line and the linebackers are disrupting their timing messes everything up.
“That helps me so much. I feel like that’s where we’re playing as a unit, but we can get better day in and day out.”
Georgia defenders recorded 6 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.
Still, it wasn’t enough to please the head football coach, either.
“We just have to get better, and we’re not where we need to be,” Smart said. “We didn’t play as well defensively tonight as we have in the past, and we’ll continue to improve.”
Georgia safety Lewis Cine