ATHENS - Damian Swann was not personally involved in Auburn's game-winning touchdown pass. But with Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews not being available to the media - either by their decision or the team's - Swann provided some insight on what happened.
Swann, a junior cornerback, was on the field for the 73-yard touchdown pass, which was tipped by Harvey-Clemons as he crashed into Matthews, who had his arms cupped as if to pick it off. Georgia would have won the game if Harvey-Clemons had just knocked it down. ("Definitely a play I'd like to have back," Harvey-Clemons tweeted on Saturday.) Matthews probably could have knocked it down too.
Swann indicated that Georgia may not have been ready for Nick Marshall to heave it deep, instead presuming that Auburn would try to convert the first down. Swann pointed that out when asked if he recalled being told by defensive coaches to knock down any pass.
"If you really think about the situation, you wouldn't expect for Nick to just drop back and throw that ball up like he did," Swann said. "I mean, we were expecting them to at least go for the first down, because they still had the timeout left, and they still could have put a drive together. Because all they needed to do was get in field goal range. So we just had guys out there playing football.
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"Me personally, I don't remember hearing 'knock it down.' But at this level, that's something that should be understood like that, when the ball is in the air to knock it down."
Of course it's easy to say from afar that you need to knock it down. In the moment, in the heat of a play, it's not quite as easy.
"When you're playing DB, you're taught to go grab a ball," Swann said. "When you knock a ball down, people will be like: Well why didn't you pick the ball? So it's a thing that can go both ways."
Swann, the veteran of the secondary, has spoken with Harvey-Clemons and Matthews since Saturday night.
"I just told them: Look, it's a part of the game. You've gotta learn from things like that," Swann said. "Those guys, they took heed from what I said, and it's gonna make them better players."