AZTEC NOTEBOOK / DANA HADDAD : Luginbill Having Defense Work on Tackling Skills

With no game this weekend, San Diego State has a light practice week with little contact, but the focus on defense will be tackling.

The Aztecs recorded five sacks of Brigham Young quarterback John Walsh on Thursday, but Coach Al Luginbill said they should have had 11. Six times, however, Walsh freed himself from a rusher's grasp, and he completed passes for long gains in four of those instances.

Aztec defensive backs, expecting to see a sack, usually broke off their coverage and got burned as Walsh completed 23 of 44 passes for 380 yards.

"We came out of the coverages looking at the quarterback and some people slipped through," said safety Darrell Lewis, who had a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown.

"We need the combination of rush and coverage," Luginbill said. "You've got to rush the passer with four people or you'll be an average defense, and your cornerbacks have to make plays. They have to make plays. Sometimes we just didn't get the job done.

"We're a lot better than we were at this time last year, and we're playing against some pretty good football players."

The No. 23 Aztecs (1-0-1) are ranked 102nd among 107 Division I teams in total defense.

The Aztecs lost six defensive players to minor injuries against BYU, but trainer Brian Barry said all, with the possible exception of cornerback Eric Sutton, are expected to play against UCLA. Sutton had arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage on his right knee Saturday and is questionable.

H-Back Will Tate, who missed the first two games after knee surgery, will return against the Bruins.

"He'll move right in and play," Luginbill said of the former Southwest High standout. "He's back to full speed, and that gives us another speedster with good hands."

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