UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
UH's Salas settles in
As Greg Salas walked into the locker room for his first day of practice last year, his mind wavered between two colors.
Green and white.
Catch more updates on the UH Sports Extra blog
Salas, who primarily played defensive back and just a little bit of receiver during his high school days in Chino, Calif., came to Hawaii unsure of which side of the ball he would be stationed.
Already anxious for his first college practice, the 6-foot-2 freshman found a nice white 36 hanging in his locker, signaling a move to the offensive side.
"I wasn't sure what I was playing, but I had a feeling it might be offense," Salas said. "Hawaii is such a great offense that my thought process (when being recruited) was that if I do play, this would be a great place to play receiver at."
He got some reps during third-and-long situations in high school, but it was nothing compared to the playbook and learning process that awaited him in Hawaii.
It took the entire fall season before he felt comfortable knowing the plays and where he should be on the field.
"Just making the right reads on your coverages because that's what the offense is based off of," Salas said about learning a new position. "It's just a matter of knowing your alignments and stuff and then getting out here and doing it."
Admittedly homesick during his first year on campus, Salas spent this summer at home in Chino training and spending time with family and friends. He has returned to Hawaii with the playbook well in hand, and has stood out during the first week of fall practices with occasional eye-popping catches. For the most part he's been steady with very few dropped passes.
Like many of the other young players on the team, Salas has struggled with not being able to make an immediate impact on the field. He is listed behind fourth-year starter Jason Rivers on the depth chart at the X receiver position and doesn't figure to find much significant playing time this season, barring injuries. It's tough to accept for a kid used to being the center of attention, but Salas knows he has to persevere.
"You know, you're used to being the man and then you come here and everyone is equal," Salas said. "Here, everybody is as good as you and it's just who wants it more."
His athletic catches have caught the eye of receivers coach Ron Lee, but as is the case with most players in his position, consistency is the key.
"The thing with him right now is that he'll make a big catch and then he'll disappear for the next few plays," Lee said. "It's something all the young kids go through and he'll get better at it."
Dan Kelly's first field-goal try of practice bounced off the right goal post. It was a sign of things to come as the junior place-kicker struggled during kicking drills, continuously pushing his attempts wide right.
"It was the first day live, so I was just trying to get my feet under me," Kelly said. "I know I'll kick better (today)."
Backup Briton Forester fared better, knocking one wobbly kick through the uprights before blasting one down the middle that drew some oohs and aahs.
The kickers took turns kicking from roughly 35 yards. After Forester made two in a row, Kelly missed two more attempts, prompting receiver Ryan Grice-Mullins, who was sitting at midfield stretching, to yell, "Hey Kelly, between the posts."