HOUSTON - Corey Frazier and Klein Kubiak are teammates at Rice and friends off the field.
But on Sunday they'll be pulled in different directions. Their fathers — Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak — will be on opposite sidelines.
"The first thing he said to me when I saw him on Sunday was that me and him were enemies from here on out this week," Corey said. "That just started it off, and there's been a lot of little jawing back and forth, a lot of little remarks."
Corey and Klein both plan to be on the sidelines with their fathers for Sunday's game, where the Texans need a win to secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Vikings are trying to keep their post-season hopes alive with Adrian Peterson entering the game just 294 yards shy of breaking the NFL single-season rushing record — a fact that Corey has mentioned often.
"He's got a pretty big card in (Peterson), so he's been building that one up," Klein said, laughing. "We've gone back and forth."
Corey got to Rice first, and Klein didn't realize his father also coached in the NFL until Gary mentioned it to him. They've since become close after bonding over the shared experiences of growing up with fathers who were NFL coaches.
"We just had so much common ground," Corey said. "Our parents both have similar qualities, similar rules as to how they want us to live our lives, and since we are under so much scrutiny that made me and Klein pretty close."
The pair find it odd that they ended up at the same school because their fathers, who both played in the NFL before moving to coaching, have known each other for decades.
"That is pretty interesting," Gary said. "I've got a lot of respect for Leslie and the job he does. His son does a (heck) of a job at Rice, too. It's been pretty cool ... you kind of take that for granted."
Leslie said their sons playing together has given himself and Gary a unique opportunity to interact away from the high-pressure world of NFL coaching.
"We get a chance to sit in the stands and mingle at the spring game and so on," Leslie said. "It's a good relationship and I'm just happy for what he's done."
Klein, a junior receiver, and Corey, a senior safety redshirting after an injury, will return to being friends after Sunday's game as Rice prepares for its first bowl appearance since 2008 when it faces Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 29.
The Owls lost five of their first six games this season before bouncing back to win five of their last six to become bowl eligible.
"We haven't had anybody on our team go to a bowl game," Klein said. "So it's new to all of us, but it's also really, really exciting."
Corey received a redshirt after injuring his knee in the first game this season. But he's looking forward to taking part in the bowl experience with his team.
"I'm definitely proud and glad that I'm getting to enjoy the ride with them," Corey said. "I'll be on the sideline cheering them on when they play Air Force."
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