POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 30, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 01:42 a.m. HST, Oct 30, 2010
Greg Salas' career at the University of Hawaii is looking a lot like the player himself, gone before you know it.
The darting moves and sudden acceleration the slotback uses to burst past defenders just about sum up his stay with the Warriors.
I mean, can it really be, beginning with tonight's game against Idaho, that Salas has just three regular-season appearances left in a Warriors uniform at Aloha Stadium?
Somehow, this is already game No. 44 for Salas, and the next thing you know those trademark touchdown handshakes with be gestures of goodbye, too.
One day he's trying to step into Jason Rivers' spikes and the next he's on the verge of wrapping up a record-breaking career. Or so it sometimes seems as he has gone about his business for the Warriors.
And business has been very good for the nation's top passing offense with Salas at 236 catches, 3,524 yards, 20 touchdowns ... and counting. With a finishing flourish along the lines of what we've come to view lately, Salas could leave with UH career records for receptions and yards.
He needs 87 yards and -- the more difficult -- 57 catches to surpass Davone Bess (2005-07), both possible at his recent rate of return and six games left, including the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl berth they can clinch by vanquishing the Vandals tonight.
The record chase is altogether fitting because Salas has come a long way. Not only from his native Chino, Calif., but on the field. It is a journey that began as a high school running back behind NFL-bound R.J. Stanford. And, for a time, it looked like he would end up playing defense. Pity they can't clone him.
So well rounded were Salas' athletic abilities that the Warriors initially saw him as a defensive back in recruiting him out of Chino High, where he was primarily a safety and just saw "spot" duty as a receiver, according to coaches. Legend there has it that a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone against Alta Loma in the playoffs, still well remembered as his signature play for the Cowboys, is what got recruiters to seriously consider Salas as a receiver.
It didn't take long once he got to UH to see his future as a receiver, so eye-opening were the catches he began making in practice. Still, for all his show-stopping flair, the one thing Salas couldn't grab was considerable playing time. The Warriors' wealth of receivers -- Rivers, Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullen and C.J. Hawthorne -- assured there were scant passes or playing time to go around even for the up-and-coming during Salas' redshirt and freshman years.
What we have come to see since the Florida game two seasons ago has been a making up for time passed. It is almost as if the considerable abandon Salas plays with -- running over linebackers, carrying defensive backs draped on his shoulders and diving for extra inches -- is from the realization that he has so much to demonstrate and so little time in which to do it.
For UH fans, this is a reminder there are precious few opportunities left to enjoy all that Salas brings to the Warriors. So, appreciate them while you can.