NOTEBOOK / SCOTT MILLER : Amid More Defensive Woes, This Week SDSU Faces Option

It may be time for the new fall television season, but the San Diego State football team still is serving up reruns.

The “Where’s the defense?” theme, highly rated by opponents and lowly rated by Aztec coaches, was featured again Saturday during a 55-34 victory over the University of the Pacific. SDSU allowed 554 yards of total offense--399 passing and 155 rushing.

Coach Al Luginbill, after looking at films, said the problem was that the defense performed only when the game was close.

“Otherwise, it was a Burger King defense,” he said, referring to the old “Have it Your Way” advertising campaign. “We played when we wanted to rather than playing hard on every snap and having our focus on what it takes to be a good football team.”


Although Luginbill said the blame must rest with himself and the coaching staff, he said he couldn’t explain the problem. Whatever it is, the Aztecs will need to have it fixed by Saturday, when SDSU travels to Air Force (3-0).

“This will be our test case,” Luginbill said. “Can we now completely change into an option mode? I believe we can. I believe this group wants to do what’s right. I’m not certain they know how to get there, but we’re going to teach them.”

Aztec dimeback Robert Griffith was penalized for taunting Saturday, giving SDSU two such penalties this year. Cornerback Gary Taylor received one in SDSU’s opener.

A team is penalized 15 yards if a player taunts an opponent.


“It will stop in our program,” Luginbill said. “The things both of those kids did have never been penalties before. . . .

“I want us expressing emotion among ourselves. It’s an embarrassing. It’s embarrassing for the young men and, more than that, it’s embarrassing for the program.”

Free safety Damon Pieri suffered a groin strain Saturday and Luginbill said the Aztecs hope to have him back at practice Tuesday. Pieri’s status is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game at Air Force. Luginbill said that if Pieri can’t play, senior Zac Stokes will replace him. Redshirt freshman Steve Rudisill replaced Pieri against Pacific.