The UCLA Bruin Football team has traveled east down the 10 (or maybe the 210) freeway, away from the cool breezes of the Pacific Ocean to the Inland Empire, in the wake of Westwood Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday afternoon. UCLA did not practice yesterday but will begin six days of practice at Cal State University San Bernardino this morning at 8:30 a.m., with a second practice today at 5:45 p.m. Here is the full schedule of the nine practices:
Monday, Aug. 15 - 8:30 a.m./5:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 16 – 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 17 - 8:30 a.m./5:45 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 18 – 3 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 19 - 8:30 a.m./5:45 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 20 – 12:30 p.m.
Temperatures in San Bernardino are expected to be in the mid-100s through Wednesday, cooling to the upper 90s later in the week. Practices are subject to change due to potential heat issues, so make sure to double check for any time changes if you plan to head out to San Berdoo.
If you are heading out to watch practice, it is free, but you will need to pay for parking (it was $5 last year). Practices are on the east side of the CSUSB campus. There are no bleachers, so plan to bring lawnchairs or a blanket. There are a few shady trees, but those spots might not be available. Plan ahead with hats, sunscreen, and water!
This is the first season of Coach Mora's tenure in which the Bruins have not started Fall Camp in San Berdoo (although UCLA Football actually started team activities in 2013 season with three days of Navy SEAL training in San Diego). 2016 will also be the first time that UCLA will not have practiced there for a two-week period, opting instead for six days this year. After the morning practice on Saturday, Coach Mora explained the reason for this change:
What I've found is that, last year, it felt that we were kind of measuring ourselves a little bit. Guys would measure themselves to get to that second week and get though it.
And so now we can go out there for six days, have nine intense practices, and say there's nothing to save yourself for. Let's just go.
And then we're coming back to UCLA. So from mental standpoint, emotionally, its really going to help us. It becomes, you really don't want it to become a drag. You know, you want them to approach every day with a sharpness and a freshness and an enthusiasm and I think what has happening is that it was bogging us down.
So that's why we made the change.
I think that makes a lot of sense.
Coach Mora also mentioned that it was important for the team to get some practice on grass, instead of the artificial surface of the UCLA intramural field, before starting the season.
Even though UCLA will be facing extreme temperatures in San Berdoo, Coach Mora emphasized that the UCLA staff is very sensitive to heat exhaustion and other related illnesses, even to the extent of having a paramedic staff at practice. He referenced how eye-opening the Korey Stringer tragedy was in 2001 (I cannot believe that it was that long ago), when he was an NFL coach, and how, after the tragedy, the NFL required all coaches to take classes about heat related illness.
Ultimately, this preparation can only help when UCLA kicks off the season in College Station on September 3rd. According to usclimatedata.com, the average high temperature there for September is 91 degrees; for August the average high is 96 degrees. With the game occurring so early in the month, I think we'll see temperatures closer to the latter, but with much higher humidity.
This is your open thread for today's practices. If you plan to go to San Berdoo, please share your observations and thoughts in this thread. If you prefer, you could write up any extended thoughts or observations later on as a Fanpost. You can also tweet pictures to us at @BruinNation. All contributions are always welcome!
Finally, one question remains. Was #32 on the bus? I sure hope so. None of my research has yielded an answer to that question.