SAN BERNARDINO - Well, it wasn't Maui, but for the UCLA football team it will do.
Under first-year coach Jim Mora, the Bruins have come out to Cal State San Bernardino for the past two weeks to practice away from the bright lights and distractions of the big city.
And Mora said he couldn't be happier with the choice he made.
"We couldn't of found better hosts anywhere," Mora said after Thursday morning's practice. "It was a great experience for our football team. I think we leave here 13 days later a better football team, both on and off the field."
So, what were the Bruins working on during their practices?
"Today, we did a simulation game," Mora said. "It was special teams and was very productive. We were very focused today and did a great job. But everybody is excited to get home to Westwood."
Mora said he decided to get the team away from Westwood so the players could bond and wouldn't get tangled up in the west Los Angeles nightlife.
"It felt like this would be very good for this team," he said. "It was great with no distractions. At Cal State San Bernardino it was we'll get it done. There was never a problem."
Mora added he thinks these two weeks in the Inland Empire will prove to be beneficial later in the season - if it hasn't already.
"I think it will pay off on the field, in the locker room and on campus," he said. "During the season you are going to have adversity. You can draw back on this experience to keep going. We'll reflect back on all of this and get back on track. Anytime you're in a team environment it's good to know the guy next to you."
And how's the team looking?
"There's still some questions in my mind, there are some things that are pretty solid and there's some uncertainty," Mora said. "I've identified about 60 players of where they are and what their roles are. But some other guys didn't get enough work in this camp."
Cornerback Ishmael Adams, who played high school ball at Oaks Christian High in Westlake Village, said he really enjoyed his time training at Cal State San Bernardino with the Bruins.
"It was difficult at first, but it turned out to be a great experience," Adams said. "Bonding with the team has been great."
(Shel Segal can be reached at
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