Mora with Johnathan Franklin (L) and Tevin McDonald (R)
You won't see any members of the UCLA Football team soaking up the sun at the beach this August. Nor will you see the Bruin athletes lounging at the pool sipping on drinks with small ornate umbrellas.
If you want to find the UCLA football team, head out to San Bernardino.
Starting on August 4 at Cal State University San Bernardino, UCLA will begin fall camp in preparation for the upcoming season.
The question begs, why leave the friendly confines of Westwood for the gritty underbelly of the Inland Empire?
It's simple—to instill a sense of camaraderie and toughness.
Since taking over last December, head coach Jim L. Mora has stressed the importance of fielding a football team that exhibits such qualities. And quite frankly, the aspects of toughness, discipline and togetherness haven't been apparent in recent memory.
This two-week camp away from campus was designed in part to rid the team of any distractions that may hinder the ability to perform at a high level.
In addition, Mora relayed that much of the motivation behind this decision stems from the want to create an isolated environment where the players depend upon each other for everything.
No insinuation should be made in terms of belittling San Bernardino, but football will dominate all activities—leaving little time for anything else from a leisure standpoint. This means that girlfriends, family members and friends will have to stay behind.
Is this a good move by Coach Mora?
In addition to a lack of non-football-related activities, the climate will most definitely pose a challenge to the squad. Temperatures will routinely reside upwards of 100 degrees. However, that surely will help the team from a conditioning standpoint.
Mora remarked that he wants to "shock" his team. Designing a program which will both challenge and motivate the team is a huge goal of this two-week period.
It's a very interesting approach by the staff. By taking the team to an uncomfortable and undesirable location, it will test the team physically and mentally.
But based on recent results, this is exactly what the team needs.
The stigma of being a soft and uninterested team has to end if UCLA is to have the type of success they want.
There's no denying that Mora is attempting to put his stamp on the program. This training camp—which unsurprisingly mirrors that of an NFL training camp—will go a long ways in determining how the Bruins perform this year.
If the team comes back to Westwood with a sense of toughness and togetherness, then the Bruins may be the surprise of the conference.
Conversely, if the team shows up with a marshmallow-esque disposition, then mediocrity will continue.
Here is the schedule for the fall camp in it's entirety.