UCLA Coach Jim Mora embraces wide receiver Shaquelle Evans after the Bruins'… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Back to Berdoo.
UCLA's football team began preparations Saturday for its Hyundai Sun Bowl game against Virginia Tech, but Coach Jim Mora has peeked down the road a little bit. The Bruins are expected to return to Cal State San Bernardino for training camp in August.
It will be the third consecutive year that UCLA has trained at the campus.
"It has been a great experience out there," Mora said. "Hopefully, we'll get it worked out in the next couple months."
San Bernardino has been Mora's preferred destination because he can isolate the team, allowing unity to ferment.
"Unless there is somewhere out there that is better, we're going back," Mora said. "They have been awfully good to us."
The challenge will be to come up with a twist to make the experience unique.
The first year, practicing in plus-100-degree heat was unique enough. Last August, the Bruins started camp in San Diego, where they worked out with Navy Seals.
"I was out jogging yesterday, thinking about that," Mora said. "I'll figure out something."
UCLA players can only wait and wonder … and maybe worry a little bit.
UCLA's first practice for the Sun Bowl was more a stretch-your-legs workout, though freshman safety Tyler Foreman tried to ramp up the intensity.
The Bruins were in no-hard-contact drills. But Foreman flattened receiver Ahmaad Harris on one play. A little later, receiver Eldridge Massington returned the favor when he waylaid Foreman, who had scooped up a fumble.
A year ago, UCLA came out flat against a talented Baylor team and was destroyed, 49-26, in the Holiday Bowl. Mora said they will "tweak" the preparation this year.
Mora said the Bruins will turn their focus on Virginia Tech on Tuesday. The plan is to go through a regular game week, with a "mock" game Saturday.
"One thing you have to be careful of is not letting it get dull," Mora said. "I think last year we spent too much time getting our young guys work and not enough time on Baylor. We'll get into Virginia Tech a little earlier."
It helps that the Bruins don't leave until after Christmas, starting practice in El Paso on Dec. 27 and playing Dec. 31. Last year, the Bruins practiced in San Diego before Christmas and played the game Dec. 27.
"At Christmas, everybody wants to be at home," said quarterback Brett Hundley. "I think it took away a little focus. This year, I think we're more mature. Everyone knows this is not a vacation, it's a business trip."
Linebacker Anthony Barr made the rubber chicken rounds last week.
Barr was in Houston as a finalist for the Lombardi Award and then went to Florida for the College Football Awards Show, where he was named Walter Camp first-team All-American.
"I've just tried to take it in stride, live in the moment," Barr said. "It's not every day you get to travel the country. I realize how blessed I am."
Linebacker Myles Jack, guard Alex Redmond and defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes were named first-team freshman All-American by the Sporting News.
Half the Bruins' secondary mostly watched Saturday. Safety Anthony Jefferson and cornerback Fabian Moreau were limited because of injuries. Moreau has a pulled hamstring, which kept him out of the season finale against USC. Jefferson is thought to have a sore ankle.
"They're fine," Mora said. "We held them out a little bit. They'll be good to go Monday, or Tuesday at the latest."