The Closest the Longhorns Have Been in Years

The Longhorns may be 3-4, but fifth-year seniors Taylor Doyle and Desmond Jackson believe the team is the closest it has been in years.

Seniors Taylor Doyle and Desmond Jackson have been around the Texas football program for five years, and during that time, they have experienced various levels of closeness with their teammates.

Questions about the team's togetherness were at an all-time high following the Longhorns 50-7 loss to TCU.

Freshmen cornerback Kris Boyd was tweeting at halftime, senior safety Dylan Haines called out the freshmen class for not watching film and a few freshmen took to Twitter to express their displeasure with Haines' comments. 

Many media members questioned if second-year head coach Charlie Strong was losing his locker room, as it was beginning to appear that there was a division between upper and lower classmen. 

But the public perception was allegedly inaccurate.

"I’d hate to say y’all kind of blew that out of proportion but …," Doyle laughed. "Guys are comfortable with each other and know they can talk to each other about tough subjects."

Whether it was blown out of proportion or not, the Longhorns took matters into their own hands and called for a team meeting to clear the air, which thus far appears to have paid off, as both Doyle and Jackson believe this 2015 squad is the closest of any team they have ever been a part of during their five-year stint in Austin.

“We’ve had a few meetings with the coaches and without the coaches where guys were encouraged, no matter what year or classification they are, to speak their mind. And that’s been huge for us," Doyle said. "I think this is the closest the team has been in my experience here as far as seniors and freshmen spending time together. That wasn’t always the case here. I think the gap between different classes is definitely becoming smaller."

"Guys have just come together and trust each other a lot more. Guys have been more humble about everything going on," Jackson said. "Coach Strong cares about us. That's where the whole family atmosphere comes from. We have a lot of trust in our coaches and they are great guys. That's where part of that closeness comes from."

Many players under former head coach Mack Brown discussed the family atmosphere at Texas, but as the years wore on, the same family atmosphere he brought to Austin was partly to blame for the soft product the Longhorns put on the field. The difference in Brown's family atmosphere and the atmosphere of present day is fairly simple. The former was perceived more along the lines of coddling, while the present is built on a foundation of Strong's tough love, openness and accountability.

"I haven't been a part of the team where - from the head coach all the way down to GA's and us players - everybody can come together as a family and talk about certain things. We're very open about our stuff so it's very much like a home atmosphere," Jackson said.

"For a player that actually wants to go out there and play his heart out for his teammates and coaches, you have to have a foundation where you feel like this is a home to you. For me, DKR is my home. When I leave here and when I'm 30, 40 or 50 years old, I'm always going to remember the times spent at DKR because this has been my home for the last five years."

“When adversity hits, you have two options. We’ve clearly taken the option to pull towards each other and at the end of the day when tough times hit, all you have are those guys in the room," Doyle said.

"Obviously it wasn’t a great thing to be a part of but we used it for good and used it as an opportunity to grow closer. I think it has helped us.”

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