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UCLA FYI

Neuheisel has a history with Kansas State Coach Snyder

Their teams played each other while Neuheisel coached in the Big 12 Conference, but it was a note after the two coaches competed in 1999 that suggested a mutual respect.

September 20, 2009|Chris Foster

UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel and Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder have a history -- and it suggests a mutual respect.

As Big 12 Conference rivals when Neuheisel was at Colorado, they split four games. But it was after Neuheisel went to Washington that he learned he had a friend in Snyder.

Kansas State, then ranked No. 7 in the nation, defeated the Huskies, 24-20, in the 1999 Holiday Bowl. Soon after, Neuheisel received a note from Snyder.

"He had a very good team, and we were a big underdog, but we gave him a good game," Neuheisel said. "I got a nice note from him congratulating our coaching staff on a great job. That, to me, is what college football is all about. Sometimes you get so busy that you move on to the next game and all that stuff. But I've always admired Bill as a competitor and admired him as a guy that was really one of the class acts in the game."

Neuheisel said Snyder's was the only postgame note from a coach he has received.

"I was honored to receive it," Neuheisel said, "though I wish we would have won the game."

Then he added, "But maybe I might not have gotten the letter."

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Back track

Neuheisel said he wasn't surprised that Snyder, 69, returned to coaching after stepping down as the Wildcats' coach after the 2005 season.

"I think I was more surprised when he said he was leaving," Neuheisel said. "He's so good at what he does and he's so committed to the task, it was very surprising.

"In all the time that I've been with him, whether it was the Big 12 meetings or some of the Nike gatherings we'd see each other at, I never saw him have a hobby. So it was surprising to think of what he would do away from coaching. I'm not surprised that he's back."

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The next generation?

Several top high school recruits were expected to attend Saturday's game: Offensive lineman Sil Ajawara (Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro), running back Jordan James (Corona), linebacker Josh Shirley (Fontana Kaiser High), defensive lineman Kirifi Taula (Anaheim Servite), defensive lineman Marsh Cassius (Westlake Village Oaks Christian), wide receiver Kenneth Stills Jr. (La Costa Canyon), defensive lineman George Uko (Chino Don Lugo) and running back DeAnthony Thomas (Los Angeles Crenshaw). All are part of the 2010 recruiting class except for Thomas, who is a junior.

Defensive end Marquis Jackson (College of the Canyons) and defensive tackle Willie Mobley (Orange Coast College) were also expected. Jackson has orally committed to UCLA. Mobley, who left Ohio State in August, has said he will enroll at UCLA next summer.

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Odds and ends

Freshman Sheldon Price made his first college start at cornerback in place of Courtney Viney. Viney, running back Milton Knox, and receivers Morrell Presley and Randall Carroll sat out the game on suspension for what Neuheisel said was breaking a team rule.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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