Wonder if Snyder visited with Pelini during his Lincoln trip?

June, 3, 2009
6/03/09
12:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder ventured deep into enemy territory Tuesday night when he visited with a group of Kansas State alumni in Lincoln, Neb.

About 175 people attended the event, which was billed as a meeting of the "Nebraskans for K-State Catbackers" club.

Several KSU fans told Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star that they were happy the legendary Snyder has returned to coaching after a three-year sabbatical.

Snyder had some interesting comments, most notably about the difficulty of returning the Wildcats to their former position among the North Division powers.

"Whether we can replicate what took place in my first tenure here, I don't know. It's far more complex, I think," Snyder told the Journal Star. "This is going to take a little time and I think most people really understand that and have an appreciation for that.

"We're all impatient. I'm impatient. Everyone else is. But patience was a virtue with all of our people back in 1989. So they've experienced that and, by and large, I think they'll be patient and understand we have a long ways to go."

The visit was notable as well because it foreshadows an intriguing Nov. 21 game between the Wildcats and Nebraska in Lincoln.

It will be the first time that Snyder will have faced a Nebraska team where Bo Pelini is the head coach.

The two were involved in a memorable confrontation on the field after a 2003 game when Kansas State posted a 38-9 victory over Nebraska when Pelini was coaching the Cornhuskers' defense.

Pelini was irate after Snyder kept his first-stringers in the game late in the one-sided contest. KSU fullback Ayo Saba rumbled for a 6-yard TD run with 1:31 left against a Nebraska defense composed of Pelini's substitutes.

That led to a meeting after the game between Pelini and Snyder where Pelini expressed his displeasure with Snyder's coaching methods.   

"I don't think I care to repeat what he called me," Snyder said at the time.

Pelini said he told Snyder he was running up the score and that he didn't appreciate it.

"That's not the way I've gone about things in the organizations I've been in," Pelini said after the loss.

Snyder appeared to beyond the old confrontation when asked about Pelini's recent success with the Cornhuskers.

"I think he's doing things the right way. I think he's matured into that position quite well," Snyder said. "I know as a coordinator and accepting all the responsibilities he had when he was at LSU, he was very, very exceptional at it. And I know (Nebraska) dramatically missed him. So I think he's doing it the right way. I think he's going to be very successful."

That 2003 KSU team claimed the Big 12 championship and might have been one of the best teams ever coached by Snyder. The Nebraska team qualified and won an Alamo Bowl that season, but not before then-coach Frank Solich was fired after the last regular-season game.

The roles will likely be reversed this season. Nebraska will have a team that most observers predict will be challenging for a Big 12 North title. KSU is in the midst of a rebuilding period.

The game between the two bitter North Division rivals should be interesting.

But not nearly as much as the meeting on the field after the game between their two head coaches -- no matter how many platitudes that Snyder had for Pelini's program Tuesday night.

And I, for one, can hardly wait.  

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