Mora looks on during training camp at the Seahawks training facility on July 31, 2009 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images).
Few days ago news came out that UCLA's football program will be heading out to the IE (Cal State San Bernardino) for this year's Fall Camp. While this will probably upset and annoy a number of Bruin alums and fans around the LA area looking forward to checking out team during the public sessions, IMHO this may not be a bad thing but not exactly a sure recipe for success.
From what we have heard this was mostly driven by Coach Jim Mora (although watch Chianti fall all over himself to take credit should this work out as a huge success), who wanted to put together an NFL style environment around his Fall camp, minimizing distractions and also optimizing bonding experience for the team. Mora's official comment on camping for those who missed it:
"We believe the move to CSUSB will be a very positive experience for our football team,'' Mora said. "We are excited for the opportunity to continue to lay the foundation for the coming season."
Keep in mind this is not the first time UCLA has gone camping for pre-season football camp. Karl Dorrell did it during his time taking the team to Cal Lutheran. So this is not exactly some kind of "new approach" at UCLA. At that time we heard a lot about how it was going to make the team more focused and also create better chemistry. It didn't exactly work out that way.
But, Mora deserves the benefit of the doubt He always has had a reputation of running tough and grueling training camps from his pro days. I doubt that is going to change now. And for all those who thought (cough***Bill Plaschke***cough) Mora was hard on the UCLA team this spring, he will take it to another level this Fall. I think as a first year coach Mora deserves deference in shaping this program the way he wants. If he thinks taking the team out to San Bernardino heat, away from the all the distractions and comfortable perch in West LA will get the team more mentally focused and ready, then so be it.
Also, I see this move separate from the much discussed facilities issues around the UCLA athletic programs. The responsibility for that squarely rests with our athletic director, who has proven to be an incompetent bureaucrat. It's up to him for the Bruins to put together legit practicing facilities for our athletics program and I don't really see this as some kind "buying time" tactic to spend more bureaucratic bandwidth of worthless feasibility studies.
And BTW it is unclear whether CSSB has adequate football facilities to host UCLA. That is also up to Chianti to make sure UCLA is well accommodated, by closely working with the CSSB athletic staff. Not sure whether he is going to be up to task as he is probably busy packing for his much discussed booze cruise to Italy.