Alridge All About The Bling
Houston receiver, turned runner racking up the yards
Sept. 21, 2007
By Carter Blackburn
Special to CSTV.com
Carter Blackburn covers various sports for CSTV and writes frequently for CSTV.com.
Anthony Alridge has more rushing yards than Ray Rice, P.J. Hill or Steve Slaton.
He has more bling than Jay Z.
Around the University of Houston, he is known as "Quick Six" for his ability to expeditiously get to the end zone.
And who came up with "Quick Six"?
"Coach (Art) Briles did," Alridge said. "That's my G. He's my gangsta."
Around the west Texas town of Stephenville, Briles is a legend for the four state championships he won as coach of the high school team. Just as a no-nonsense West Texas football coach should, Briles enjoys coaching ball, fishing and being with his family. If this was Hollywood or Friday Night Lights, Briles would be the stiff white coach struggling to relate to the young, street-wise African American star of his team.
That's how the script goes, right?
"Honestly, when you asked me about Anthony being African-American, I thought, `is Anthony African-American?'" Briles said. "In a team setting like this, a family environment, that never enters my mind. We're all a bunch of guys trying to win football games and championships."
Briles calls Alridge the most unselfish player on his team. Even after an 86-yard touchdown pass play against Oregon, Alridge was pointing to lineman 30 yards behind him for the blocks that sprang him to the end zone.
"Me and coach Briles' tight," Alridge says. "Straight 100 percent. Eye-to-eye. We want to work hard and win another championship. We're straight G's. Capital G with a little `g' at the end."
A season after capturing the Conference USA championship with quarterback Kevin Kolb at the helm, Alridge takes the keys to Briles' fast break offense. In the days of the run-and-shoot, quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy and David Klingler shattered multiple NCAA passing records. Even Kolb racked up the fourth most passing yards in NCAA history tossing the ball forty times a game.
In 2007, the ball will be in Alridge's hands, a change for both the Cougars and for the converted wide receiver.
Alridge was a very good high school running back in Denton, Texas, rushing for over 1,600 yards and 27 touchdowns his senior year. But at Houston, Alridge played primarily wide receiver, when he played. He touched the football a total of 22 times his sophomore year. Even last season as a junior, he had only 21 carries seven games in to the season. But when teams ignored the Cougars ground game, Briles turned to Alridge to give the rushing attack a spark.
Respond he did, with three straight 130 yard-plus rushing games, and a 10 yard per carry average. When SMU defenders taunted Alridge for being a flash in the pan star they intended to smother, Alridge responded by breaking two 77 yard touchdown runs against SMU. The transition from speedster wide out to breakaway back was complete.
"I liked playing wide receiver," Alridge said, "but getting my hands on the ball every play is great."
Heading into the Cougars' third game of the season Saturday vs. Colorado State (4:30 pm ET on CSTV), Alridge is fourth in the nation with 146 rushing yards per game, and second in the nation with 230.5 all purpose yards per game. And yet, Alridge has so far ducked collegiate sports stardom.
"I don't care about the attention. I just want to work hard," Alridge said. "I don't care if I'm 4th, 5th, last, and long as we win. I just want the ring. I can be dead last as long as we get that ring, I don't care.
"It's not likely, but I'd be alright."
Just like his coach wants it, Anthony is all about chasing down the bling.