USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox takes blame for Hail Mary pass

Scott Felix
USC linebacker Scott Felix looks toward the end zone, where Arizona wide receiver Jaelen Strong had just caught a Hail Mary pass to beat the Trojans, 38-34, on the final play of the game Saturday at the Coliseum.
(Victor Decolongon / Getty Images)

USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox attracted a crowd of reporters Wednesday, one far larger than, say, the gaggle of defensive players usually in place to defend a Hail Mary pass.

The main topic, of course, was the Trojans defense’s failure to stop Arizona State’s game-winning Hail Mary touchdown pass Saturday at the Coliseum.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting information to them,” Wilcox said.

Several players said after the game that they were unaware the defensive play call had been switched.

Some players thought they were defending against a short pass to set up a field goal, others a Hail Mary. Not both.

“One defense is better against one thing and one’s better against the other,” Wilcox said. “I was obviously wrong in what my judgment was, but I thought our odds were better to defend the jump ball, and make sure they didn’t get a 10-yard throw and kick a field goal and win the game.”