SAN BERNARDINO -- The first double-practice day for UCLA was Thursday, meaning the players had a six-hour break between sessions of their training camp at Cal State San Bernardino.
The players were set to rest, eat two meals and watch film in between the morning and evening practices, but one thing many of them were not going to do was check their phones.
Tweeting, texting and phone calls are hard to come by because many players have given up their phones for the duration of training camp in an effort to promote a football-first attitude. Some position groups were required to give up the tech while others were asked to do so by their position coaches. They are allowed access to their devices for only 15 minutes each day.
“It’s actually really nice,” said linebacker Eric Kendricks, who voluntarily gave up his phone. “You get to spend some time with your teammates and really talk with each other. Sometimes when you go back after practice, everyone is on their phone and it’s allowed us to really bond.”
Bonding with teammates was a major reason coach Jim Mora wanted to take his team to San Bernardino for camp. He said before camp started that he wanted an environment with "no girlfriends, no friends and no family." Mora said he did not impose a cell phone ban, but you can bet he's not all that upset with it as it's helped shift the focus to football.
Kendricks said that during down time, the players are studying the playbook and discussing strategy instead of catching up on Facebook and taking turn in Words With Friends.
“I’m not worried about it at all,” Kendricks said. “It’s part of getting away from L.A. and the distractions and focusing on football.”
Kendricks acknowledged that he couldn’t see himself jettisoning the phone when he gets back to Westwood, but enjoys being unplugged enough that he could limit his use.
“I might turn it off every once in a while,” he said.
Not so with quarterback Brett Hundley. The quarterbacks are one group who were not asked to give up their devices.
“I’m just glad I have my phone,” he said.