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Salas and Green could be taken today


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The retrial of Hawaii’s four-wide passing offense is expected to begin today.

In the 12 seasons since this variation of the run-and-shoot attack was implemented at UH, 20 former Warriors have been selected in the NFL Draft.

But only five have been from ball-handling positions — quarterback Colt Brennan (sixth round, 2008), receivers Ashley Lelie (first, 2002) and Chad Owens (sixth, 2005), and running backs Reagan Mauia (sixth, 2007) and Nate Ilaoa (seventh, 2007). It is a disproportionate number in contrast to the Warriors’ statistical success during that period.

That is expected to change. Receiver Greg Salas and running back Alex Green could be selected as early as today, when the NFL conducts the second and third rounds of its draft. The final four rounds will be held tomorrow.

UH offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich, who was a quarterback in this offense in 2000 and 2001, said he is puzzled by that small number.

"There’s no doubt the receivers (in the four-wide offense) understand the entire concept," Rolovich said. "They don’t just know their individual routes, they know everybody else’s routes. There are so many things they have to know in this offense. That has to be a plus."

Salas said he has been an NFL fan for several years. He and his family often would spend hours watching the NFL Draft. Noting only two UH receivers were selected in the past 11 drafts, Salas said, "I’m definitely surprised. I still can’t believe Davone (Bess) wasn’t drafted."

Hours after the conclusion of the 2008 draft, Bess signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Dolphins. Near the end of the 2010 season, he signed a three-year extension.

Salas has received strong interest from more than 20 NFL teams following his participation in the Senior Bowl in January, the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and UH’s pro day in March.

"I think our system is good," Salas said. "I hope we can start a trend."

Green was admittedly "up in the air" in January 2009, when he debated whether to transfer to UH from Butte College. He was warned that the Warriors’ offense did not contain a blocking back or tight end.

"Initially, I though the offense favored the receivers," Green said.

But after studying the offense and consulting with other coaches, he decided to sign with the Warriors.

"Now I understand what the offense can do for a running back," Green said. "It’s a really good offensive scheme. If you’re a running back, it helps your overall game. You can catch a lot of passes. And you learn how to block. To be a running back in the NFL, you have to be able to block."

Six NFL teams did in-person interviews with Green. Because of scheduling conflicts, he turned down two requests. Tuesday night, he met with representatives from the New England Patriots at his family home in Portland, Ore.

Green said he grew up as a fan of the Detroit Lions because of running back Barry Sanders. He visited the Lions two weeks ago.

He also has been compared to running back Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams.

"Everybody says I play like him, and we have similar actions, and not just because of the hair," said Green, who sports long dreadlocks. "I have no idea where I’ll be going. I’m going through the process and enjoying the moment."

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