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Saturday, September 23, 2023


NFL teams limit rosters

It’s a process that has stolen the attention of football fans across the country for years. Now, with the help of HBO, pigskin junkies have the opportunity to watch the ins and outs of NFL training camp.

Those familiar with the show Hard Knocks know one of its most intriguing aspects is how its documentary-like editing connects the audience with certain players during the course of the episode, as they watch players make the NFL roster or get that summons to the coach’s office.

On Tuesday, squads throughout the NFL reduced rosters to 75 men, leaving players on the bubble looking for jobs while the fortunate ones gave sighs of relief and prepared for the final cuts.

Interestingly enough, UH has a few players who played under former head coach Art Briles and are in the league actually living in the world of hard knocks. Though they may have been impact players while in Scarlet and Albino White, 6-foot-5-inch receiver Jeron Harvey and power-packed defensive tackle Marquay Love have both been cut from their teams after signing short-term contracts.

Harvey had been competing in Jacksonville for a spot on the practice squad or possibly as the last receiver, but showed inconsistency during his preseason game opportunities.

The New Orleans Saints cut Love in July. The former voice of the Cougars’ defense had a brief stint in Houston during OTAs, but couldn’t land a job after spending last season on the Dolphins practice squad as an offensive lineman.

Former offensive fixtures at running back Anthony Alridge and Jackie Battle may have both gone undrafted, but that has not stopped them from making huge amounts of noise this season.

It was only a matter of time before it happened. Alridge’s only "downside" leaving UH was his size. His 5 feet 9 inches and 170 pounds doesn’t usually translate into the prototypical NFL body, but the Broncos learned in a hurry that although Alridge may be one of the smallest players in the NFL, he will also be one of the fastest on the field.

He’s made plays on both special teams and at tailback. Coach Mike Shanahan has plans for him in third-down situations because of his ability to take it the distance. He fights for the fourth spot on the roster and must put on a show Friday against Arizona to secure himself a job on the team and not the practice squad.

Battle was the No. 2 back on the depth chart in the Chiefs’ third preseason game and did his thing by punishing linebackers and churning out the tough yardage when he got his hands on the ball. He must beat out former UT standout running back Jamal Charles and veteran Kevin Smith for the backup job behind Larry Johnson, but neither have had standout seasons thus far.

It could be said Battle and Alridge are on the bubble, but the odds are in their favor. This former Cougar backfield tandem should find itself alive in the NFL after the final cuts are made next week.

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