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Texas Bowl foes join forces in Shrine Game


Less than a month ago, TCU defensive end Chase Ortiz and University of Houston running back Anthony Alridge were squaring off against each other in the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium.

The two players have reunited at the Texans' facility, but now they are playing for the same team.

Alridge and Ortiz are members of the West team, which will take the field Saturday night at Houston's Robertson Stadium for the East-West Shrine Game.

"This is a home game for me," Alridge said. "I'm the hometown kid on the team. Everybody comes to me trying to see what the hotspots are. I'm showing everybody around and having a good time out here."

The 5-9, 175-pound running back also is showcasing his talents during a week of pregame workouts. Alridge, who finished the regular season with 1,568 yards rushing and recorded three games with more than 200 yards on the ground, wants to prove he can be effective at the pro level in several roles.

{QUOTE}Alridge is known for his speed. His Cougar teammates called him "Quick Six" because he could sprint in points as a rusher or a returner.

Scouts, however, have been concerned about Alridge's size. They fear he would not be able to hold up against the NFL's hard hitters.

Alridge acknowledged that his small frame is a weakness, but he hopes pro teams can look past that and see everything else he has to offer.

"I never missed a game," Alridge said. "Hopefully, my toughness shows that I can play with the big boys.

"Speed kills in the NFL. They like to have players that have speed. I'm a kickoff return guy and I'm versatile. Hopefully, they can see that and, hopefully, I can show that in this East-West Shrine game."

His Shrine Game teammate, Ortiz, also wants scouts to notice his pro potential and work ethic.

The 6-3, 255-pound defensive end from League City notched eight sacks last season. His sack late in the fourth quarter against the Cougars helped seal TCU's 20-13 win in the Texas Bowl.

"There are a lot of scouts around here and around the hotel, watching players and evaluating them," Ortiz said. "I've had a few conversations and a few interviews. They've gone great. They ask a question and I talk to them and try to be as honest as possible.

"I just want to showcase my talent."

It helps Ortiz that he is starting to feel at home in Houston.

"You couldn't ask for better facilities," Ortiz said of Reliant Stadium and the Methodist Training Center. "I'm getting pretty used to being around here. We are actually staying at the same hotel we stayed at during the bowl game."

Same practice field, same hotel – maybe that will translate into another game-clinching sack for Ortiz in Saturday's showdown at Robertson Stadium.

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