USC DC Wilcox: ‘I got to do a better job’ with defense

Justin Wilcox has an acronym, "DYJ." Do Your Job. 

As a defensive unit last Saturday night, the Trojans had a tough time doing that. The mistakes were limitless.

"(We had) technique error, we had a lot of eye violations, meaning our eyes were in the wrong spots, missed tackles really showed up as well," Wilcox said. "It’s the small little things. If a guy is supposed to be outside, we got to stay outside. If a guy is supposed to be inside (stay inside). If you start getting nosy on an option team it, obviously costs you."

As explained by USC’s defensive coordinator, a lot of things went wrong that led to the Trojans giving up a lot of yards on the ground — 452 to be exact.

Running quarterbacks have been troublesome for USC going back to the Pete Carroll era, but Saturday’s defensive output was in a class of its own.

The 452 rush yards were the most USC has given up on the ground since 1977.

Wilcox didn’t waste any time taking the blame.

"It was really just a poor job by me," he said. "I, obviously, didn’t do a good job preparing us so I’ll take that 100 percent."

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In-game adjustments are something head coach Steve Sarkisian says his staff will take a look at during the current bye week.

Of course, that would include the defensive side as well but, for Wilcox, there is a line that has to be drawn.

"You don’t wholesale change," Wilcox said. "There’s fundamentals of defense. There’s fundamentals of playing option football.

"You don’t change everything on the sideline. That’s not the way, in my opinion, to do it. I’m not sure anybody would but you have to execute it every down with great focus and great technique and if you don’t, that’s what happens."

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Saturday didn’t mark the only time USC will face an option rushing attack this season or a team with a quarterback who is dangerous with his legs.

Consider it a lesson learned, stored and, for the sake of USC’s defense, hopefully corrected in the future.

"Do your job,"  Wilcox said. "It’s mundane but that’s how you have to play everybody but especially those option teams."