Four Pac-12 teams get away from campus during fall camp

When the Washington Huskies trekked over to the Seattle Seahawks' Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. for practice Thursday, it was a one-day break from the usual routine, a chance to feel a natural grass field under their feet and get a fleeting taste of life on Sundays.

One day later, Washington was back on campus for workouts at Husky Stadium, sleeping in dorms and everything else that comes with the tedious repetition of preparing for the upcoming season.

For four other Pac-12 teams, preparations for the 2013 season involve getting away from it all on a more permanent basis. Here is a look at where those teams are embarking for summer vacations:


Where: Fort Huachua (Sierra Vista, Ariz.)

Distance from campus: 77 miles

Why: For the sixth consecutive year, the Wildcats are holding a handful of practices at Fort Huachua, which dates back to 1877 and is now the home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center.

"The biggest thing I like is that it gives us a true camp atmosphere, particularly being around the military guys and getting a feel for how they do business," head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I think every football player needs to go through a camp type experience."

Military personnel and locals watched practice Thursday, followed by dinner when Wildcats players and coaches ate with troops. Rodriguez also allowed the team to enjoy some time in the on-base pool, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Arizona State

Where: Camp Tontozona (Payson, Ariz.)

Distance from campus: 106 miles

Why: Since 1960, the Sun Devils have headed to the mountains to get away from the oppressive heat (for a point of reference, it was 22 degrees cooler in Payson than Tempe on Friday).

The construction of an on-campus air-conditioned practice bubble in 2008 briefly ended the annual trek to Camp T, but head coach Todd Graham reinstituted the tradition last year in his first season on the job.


Where: Cal State San Bernardino (San Bernardino, Calif.)

Distance from campus: 77 miles

Why: Jim Mora's aim in moving camp away from the Westside of Los Angeles to the edges of the San Bernardino National Forest wasn't "re-creating the Junction Boys," as he told the Los Angeles Times last year, referencing the brutal first 10 days Bear Bryant's 1954 Texas A&M team endured. But the toughness and togetherness instilled in the Bruins resulted in a nine-win season, Pac-12 South title and first victory over USC since 2006, so UCLA is back again.

Washington State

Where: Sacajawea Junior High School (Lewiston, Idaho)

Distance from campus: 36 miles

Why: Construction to renovate the Cougars' football facility has displaced the team temporarily, giving players a chance to relive days not too far gone by traveling on yellow school buses to go play football.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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