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Missed tackles are a big concern

Times Staff Writer

UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis let loose a primal scream late in Tuesday’s practice, a call to be wild.

“I think they were a little ornery, I like that,” Coach Karl Dorrell said. “There’s a standard of how we’re expecting to play.”

The offense exceeded those stands Saturday in a 45-17 victory over Stanford. The defense? Well, there was a little massaging to be done.

The Bruins gave up 331 passing yards, including three pass plays of more than 40 yards. They also gave up a run for 32 yards.

The area the Bruins need to correct was easily located, even without looking at game film.

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“We missed seven tackles and we gave up 95 [yards after the first hit],” defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said. “That’s 50-55 more than we care to see.

“That’s something we did pretty well last year. But we started like this a little bit last year, too. We had to kind of correct the tackling. It’s something that’s been identified. When you get a big win, it’s easy to correct those things.”

Walker indicated the same type of tackling could be costly in Saturday’s game against Brigham Young.

“They have three 230-pound running backs,” Walker said. “They have big linemen and they are going to be older. These are men, 22-23 years old. I coached up there one year, so I know how they do things and what kind of kids they have. We’re going to have to bring our lunch pail. It’s going to be a physical game.”

The Bruins limited Stanford to 52 rushing yards. But the Cardinal found some success through the air, though it had to throw 59 passes. Still, it was not the type of afternoon anticipated from a defense that returned 10 starters.

“With expectations being so high and you don’t quite reach them in the first game, I think it’s healthy to get everybody re-focused,” Walker said. “We need to look at what we need to improve and move forward.”

Running back Chane Moline went through contact drills for the first time since last spring, and tested the new splint on his left wrist. Moline has been out with a broken bone in that wrist.

“He looked OK,” Dorrell said. “You can tell he hasn’t practiced in a while. A couple times he stumbled with his footwork. He just needs to get running again through the line of scrimmage, get bumped around a little.”

As to whether he would be available for Saturday’s game, Dorrell said, “We’ll see what happens at the end of the week. It didn’t look like the splint was that bad with him.”

Moline led the Bruins with five rushing touchdowns last season.

Cornerback Rodney Van dressed but was held out of drills because a sprained left ankle suffered in the victory over Stanford.

“We’re going to give him another day’s rest and get him ready to go by the end of the week,” Dorrell said.

Defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski was pulled out of drills because of an injured arch, Dorrell said.

With Van sidelined, Alterraun Verner worked with the first-team defense at right cornerback.

Verner, a sophomore, returned two interceptions for touchdowns and was named freshman co-player of the year in the Pacific 10 last season.

Verner and junior cornerback Michael Norris got considerable playing time against Stanford.

“It’s good to have depth,” Walker said. “If Rodney can’t play, I think those two guys will step up.”

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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UP NEXT

vs. Brigham Young (1-0)

Saturday, at the Rose Bowl

3:30 p.m., Versus


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