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Area Standouts Hope To Make Mark At Nfl Combine

Commence the poking and prodding.

The NFL Scouting Combine, pro football’s version of a meat market, begins in Indianapolis today.

Seven area players are expected to attend. The combine runs through Monday, with players arriving in shifts in Indianapolis.

“They test you about every way they can test you,” Idaho football coach Chris Tormey said. “The combine is big for guys that maybe aren’t as established as high draft picks.”

Washington State is represented by Scott Sanderson, a highly rated offensive tackle who made The Sporting News’ All-America first team, and All-Pac-10 linebacker James Darling, whose stock appears to be on the rise after an eye-opening performance at the Senior Bowl.

“Film is James’ biggest asset,” WSU defensive coordinator Bill Doba said. “Of the scouts who came in this fall, I don’t think any of them didn’t like him. The only thing they questioned is his height (6-foot-1) and his flat-out speed. But he gets outside and makes plays.”

Idaho’s Ryan Phillips, who was first-team All-Big West, reinjured his hamstring while preparing for an all-star game last month.

“It’s getting there,” Phillips said. “I’ve been running 40s but not at the time that I want. I’m going to time (on Wednesday) and if it’s not in the 4.6s, I probably won’t run back there.”

Phillips was timed last year running 40 yards in 4.55 seconds, an impressive time for a 250-pound linebacker.

UI quarterback Ryan Fien was on the combine list, but got bumped off a few days ago because “so many juniors are coming out,” he said.

“I was a little disappointed, but it’s not do or die. The main thing is I have a lot of personal workouts (with scouts in Moscow) set up in March.”

Washington is sending four players, including All-Pac-10 running back Corey Dillon, who will skip his senior season to go pro. Dillon is expected to be a first-round pick.

The combiners will be weighed, measured and tested thoroughly - physically and intellectually.

“I remember when (current New Orleans Saint) Mark Fields came back and said, ‘If my shoulder wasn’t hurt before I went, it was hurting after they yanked on it,”’ Doba said.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: TAKING THEIR SHOT WSU: James Darling, LB, 6-1, 250; Scott Sanderson, OT, 6-6, 286. Idaho: Ryan Phillips, LB/DE, 6-4, 250. UW: Corey Dillon, RB, 6-2, 220; Bob Sapp, OG, 6-5, 285; Ink Aleaga, LB, 6-2, 230; John Fiala, LB, 6-3, 230.

This sidebar appeared with the story: TAKING THEIR SHOT WSU: James Darling, LB, 6-1, 250; Scott Sanderson, OT, 6-6, 286. Idaho: Ryan Phillips, LB/DE, 6-4, 250. UW: Corey Dillon, RB, 6-2, 220; Bob Sapp, OG, 6-5, 285; Ink Aleaga, LB, 6-2, 230; John Fiala, LB, 6-3, 230.

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