The Washington Times - January 17, 2009, 10:53AM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —- In case anyone is still wondering, I’ve pretty much latched onto the bench issue as a problem for Maryland. I’m not letting go of it until the Terrapins prove it isn’t a concern.

Maryland coach Gary Williams isn’t ignoring this reality, which is a good development.


“You want your bench to step up, and they’re going to have to step up [today], there’s no doubt about it,” Williams said. “Florida State uses 10 players every game, so we have to match their bench and we just have to do it. The only guy who played a lot of minutes was Greivis and he played 36.”

So this brings me back to another of my favorite subjects that was mentioned briefly last night —- Cliff Tucker.

If Maryland is going to get scoring from its reserves, Tucker is the obvious candidate. But you can’t score when you’re not on the court, and it would seem Tucker might received a larger opportunity.

“I wouldn’t be surprised [today] to see Cliff out there more,” Williams said. “The other thing with Cliff is he’s one of our best athletes, and against a team like Florida State that’s very athletic, it’s a pretty good matchup when he’s on the court.”

Williams emphasized Tucker’s inconsistency, and when I pressed him on whether that was practice inconsistency or in-game unevenness, Williams opened up a little bit. Not much, but a little.

“That’s something a lot of players have to learn when they get to college. they’ve been able to drift in high school, depending on their competition, and you’re still a dominant player,” Williams said. “You’re not a dominant player in the ACC without focusing completely on what’s at hand. That’s what we want Cliff to do, and it’s time for him to do that.”

—- Patrick Stevens