After an embarrassing loss to the Packers Cox had had enough of his teammates accepting mediocrity. In the locker room after the 37-6 rout by the Packers in Soldier Field Cox erupted. "Some of us need to see the Wizard because we don't have a lot of heart," Cox spat to reporters, "Search the waiver wire. This ain't college. If people are not doing their job, let's get out and get some people in who want to play."
Now I'm sure there were some out there who didn't like what he had to say. He was being a loudmouth or had violated some "code of the lockeroom" or some such nonsense. I bet his teammates, specifically the ones who knew he was talking about them, didn't like it either. What he said wasn't popular but then again often the truth often isn't. Which brings us back to the 2005 Maryland Terrapins. In the wreckage of the loss to Clemson last night Nik Caner-Medley came as close to saying about his teammates what Bryan Cox said about the Bears all those years ago. He didn't mention a tin man, cowardly lion or brainless scarecrow, though this team has a few of each, but the message was the same. Said Caner-Medley after the game:
"Teams are shooting better against us than they do against any other team in the league. Really what it comes down to is you can play team defense all you want, but you have to be able to stop your man. At this level, you have to take pride in that. I just think that right now everybody has to do a lot of soul-searching on this team, and look themselves in the mirror and think about how bad you want to win, and how bad you want to prepare, and how bad you want to dedicate your life to this game. That's what it really comes down to."
Harsh, but true. The painful fact is that Clemson's collection of sad talent simply wanted to win more than Maryland's players did and it showed as Clemson played energized and aggressive defense and got to more loose balls. With the exception of Caner-Medley, who seems to be the only player who hasn't packed it in yet, this group went down and got outworked by a bunch of NIT level players who had not won a game in almost a month. I think it is safe to assume that for the second straight year the NCAA tournament will be without a Maryland squad at this point. They do have five games left but will be favored in probably only one of those contests. Given this groups inability to compete in road games I don't see them winning the 2 out of 3 road games they will need to have a shot at the NCAAs. The Terps' RPI is still a healthy 43 as of this morning but it has been sinking with every game. The game at Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels who are currently 22nd in the RPI looms large, though if they can't beat FSU or Georgia Tech between now and then it won't matter much.
I haven't mustered the stomach to analyze the game yet, but as always I have some thoughts about it. I'll post them by tomorrow I hope.