Bruins to become early birds this week

LOS ANGELES--With classes at UCLA set to begin this week, Bruins football coach Jim Mora said the team will start practices at 7 a.m. from now on.

UCLA is on the quarter system and the fall quarter begins annually at the end of September. The Bruins had been practicing at 11 a.m. for the first four weeks of the season, but that time conflicts with most class schedules.

In the past the Bruins have practiced at 4 p.m., after the players were finished with classes, but Mora said he and his staff concluded that the morning start time made the most sense.

"Get them up and get them going early when we’ve really got their full attention," Mora said. "Get them on campus, get them a good meal after their workout and then they can attend their classes during the day. Then we’ll get them at the end of the day and watch the practice film and prepare for the next day’s practice."

Mora said it will be a challenge to adjust to the new schedule after classes begin. The players will have to balance school, homework and tutoring with football and their personal lives. Getting football out of the way early, he said, might help with the rest.

"We kind of ensure that they are getting out of bed, getting on campus, getting to practice, getting to class and doing the things that they need to do," he said. "And I think that they’ll be motivated to go to bed at an early hour because they have to get up and get going at an early hour."

Classes at UCLA begin Thursday so the team will have a couple of days to acclimate to the early morning practices.

"We felt this was the perfect week to implement it," Mora said. "It gives them a chance to get them adjusted."