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Salas, Green excel

Stephen Tsai
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Greg Salas, left, and Alex Green performed well during their combine drills.

In their most significant audition, former Hawaii football players Greg Salas and Alex Green gained notice yesterday at the National Football League Scouting Combine in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

NFL teams credited Salas, a receiver, with 40-yard dashes between 4.49 and 4.54 seconds.

Green, a running back, was credited with 40-yard times between 4.46 and 4.48.

"I was pretty happy with my performance," Salas said in a phone interview.

There was some drama with the first of Salas’ two 40-yard sprints. NFL.com initially reported that Salas ran the distance in 5.0 seconds. But after a review of the video, it was determined that Salas ran it in 4.50 seconds, and that a statistician mistakenly forgot to input the "4," according to a person familiar with the situation.

"We knew it wasn’t a 5 flat," agent Kenny Zuckerman said. "We knew it was in the 4.5 range."

NFL.com reported that Salas completed his second 40 in 4.57 seconds.

Each NFL team records its own times for each player at the combine. For Salas’ first run, the range was between 4.49 and 4.54.

Salas, who has been training at Athletes’ Performance in Carson, Calif., used a unique technique in which he stretched his arms on the surface, then bear-crawled back to the starting line.

"It’s a technique we’ve been working on," Salas said. "It’s supposed to help you explode off the line."

Salas had a 37-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot broad jump. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 15 times. He was credited with running the three-cone drill in 6.65 seconds (seventh-fastest among running backs, receivers and quarterbacks yesterday) and the 60-yard shuttle in 11.21 seconds (ninth). He initially was credited with completing the 20-yard shuttle in 4.10 seconds, but that number was adjusted to an undisclosed slower time.

Salas was most impressive in the receiver drills. He caught all of the dozen passes thrown in his direction.

"All of those routes (at UH) had to help," Salas said. "I have confidence in my hands."

While a handful of players decided not to participate in drills, instead preferring to wait for their school-administered pro days, that was not a consideration for Salas.

"My mantra is to get the best bang for the buck," Zuckerman said. "The most (NFL) people are at the combine. Your value increases when more people watch you. It’s supply and demand."

At the combine, there are scores of coaches, general managers, scouts and medical staff from the 32 NFL teams. UH’s Pro Day, which will be held March 31 in Carson, attracts about two decision-makers from each team.

Zuckerman said it might be best for Salas to stand on his combine numbers and not participate in sprints or jumps at UH’s pro day. But Salas said he might want to run the 40-yard dash again because the pro day will be held at the Home Depot Center, where he and Green train.

Green yesterday had a vertical jump of 36 inches, and a broad jump of 9 feet 6. He completed the three-cone drill in 6.91 seconds. Earlier, he bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times.

"I wasn’t nervous at all," Green said. "It was kind of cool."

Despite receiving praise from ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. two weeks ago, Green arrived as a relative unknown. Agent Michael Hoffman said NFL scouts projected Green as a "4.6 guy," which would be a so-so time for an NFL tailback.

NFL.com reported that Green ran the 40 in unofficial times of 4.55 seconds and 4.52 seconds. NFL scouts credited Green with a more favorable range of between 4.46 and 4.48 for his second — and best — run.

"I figured that would help me," Green said of the goal to run in under 4.6 seconds. "It showed I’m faster than some people think. I have to keep working hard, but I’m happy with my time."

Hoffman said that at 6-foot, Green’s weight of "225, it was one of the more impressive 40s. He answered one of the biggest question marks."

Hoffman said Green’s combine performance will spur scouts to review more videos of UH games.

"He’s put himself in the right direction," Hoffman said.

Former UH slotback Kealoha Pilares benched 225 pounds 19 times Saturday, but did not participate in any of the speed, jumping or position drills yesterday. Three weeks ago, he was cleared to run after suffering a partially torn posterior-cruciate ligament in the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl. Pilares said he will participate in all of the activities at UH’s pro day.

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