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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Bruins headed back to Berdoo

By Peter Yoon

SAN DIEGO -- Spending a week in "America's Finest City" apparently has UCLA coach Jim Mora longing for something a little more rugged.

Mora and UCLA have spent the week at a plush ocean front San Diego hotel and visited many of San Diego's popular tourist attractions as they prepare to face Baylor in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday at Qualcomm Stadium.

Next fall, it will be back to the blistering heat and seclusion of San Bernardino.

Mora announced Wednesday he intended to again hold training camp at Cal State San Bernardino -- the site of this season's brutal camp. He praised the camp for contributing to the success this season's team had and said he hoped to make it an annual pilgrimage before each season.

"We're going back to San Bernardino," Mora said. "It'll be something I probably will have us do every single year. It was just a tremendous, tremendous experience for our football team."

The Bruins spent 12 days in San Bernardino during the dog days of August when temperatures soared over 110 on several occasions. They endured multiple cases of heat illness and several concussions -- including one that forced linebacker Patrick Larimore into retirement -- but Mora said the experience was extremely beneficial for the team.

He said the team bonding experience was second to none and that the players learned to trust one another, how to overcome uncomfortable and adverse situations and how to keep grinding when the going gets tough.

"Those days at San Bernardino created the team that we are today," Mora said. "That's the foundation for all that we've become. ... Our guys refer back to those days quite often. They draw on that quite often."

Most will point to the extreme heat as the most memorable part of camp in San Bernardino, but Mora said it was much more about creating team chemistry and teammates bonding in an environment in which they had only one another.

The heat, however, was "an added bonus" he said.

"Creating discomfort, making guys push through things they don't think they can push through, taking them to a new level," Mora said. "These are things you have to teach these kids. They're still young men, they're still developing. They still think that they have limits and we have to push them beyond those limits. So the heat and the tempos of our practice certainly helped."