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Texas players exchange barbs at each other in media and on Twitter

AUSTIN, Texas -- Coach Charlie Strong held team meetings with his Texas Longhorns on Saturday night and again on Sunday to ensure his team stayed united after their 50-7 loss to TCU to drop to 1-4.

But his players' frustrations still spilled into the media and Twitter on Monday afternoon, raising concerns about whether Strong is dealing with a divided locker room.

What started the Twitter mess was a little bit of truth from Texas junior safety Dylan Haines, who told reporters he doesn't think Texas' younger players are putting in enough work.

"[The freshmen] just want to go and play. I think that's with any freshman," Haines said. "A lot of [the freshmen didn't] have to watch film in high school if you're recruited at that level. You don't have to go out there and put in extra work.

"They just want to go out and play on Saturday. They don't want to put in the work on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We go out there and practice, but you can just go through the motions in practice or you can practice."

When a reporter shared Haines' critique on Twitter, Texas true freshman defensive end Charles Omenihu retweeted it with a response: "Lol."

In another tweet, which has since been deleted, Omenihu took this shot: "People get in front of cameras and just talk [their] heads off. Always remember think before you speak."

Another Texas true freshman, receiver DeAndre McNeal, responded with his own long message on Twitter.

The spat comes days after fellow freshman Kris Boyd got in trouble for logging onto Twitter during halftime of the loss to TCU and retweeting two posts, including one imploring him to transfer to Texas A&M. He's since apologized for his actions.

The posts hint at a divide in Texas' locker room between upperclassmen and their touted group of freshmen and comes on the same day sources told ESPN's Joe Schad that Strong has the backing of the university and Longhorns boosters.

Senior cornerback Duke Thomas said he doesn't get the sense this team is splintering.

"I just feel like there needs to be more of a connection. There may be a little disconnect with the way they feel," Thomas said. "They feel like they need to play. They're hungry. Because outside, that's what everybody keeps telling them."

And younger players, he said, probably don't understand that airing their grievances on Twitter isn't going to accomplish anything good.

"They've just got to figure out -- and we've got to teach them -- you can't be on social media all the time," Thomas said. "Everything isn't for the public to hear."

Junior linebacker Tim Cole hadn't seen Omenihu's tweets but doesn't believe the Longhorns are dealing with infighting this week.

"It's misunderstandings on social networks," Cole said. "That's why we shouldn't be responding to some of those things you see on social networks."

Thomas said players felt disrespected by the mistake Boyd made on Twitter, and junior safety Adrian Colbert had told Boyd in the locker room to get off his phone.

They understand, though, that underclassmen have a tendency to get "embedded" in Twitter and social media and don't understand how their posts can get misconstrued.

But calling out teammates' work ethic is an entirely different matter, and Texas veterans did not dispute Haines' assessment.

Thomas won't pin it all on freshmen -- "It ain't just them," he said -- but he knows Texas needs better accountability inside its locker room.

"Sometimes people just have to suck it up and just understand where it's coming from," junior defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway said. "A teammate is trying to help you out, not trying to hurt you or demean you."