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A slogan was born out of the Rutgers football team’s crushing 33-30 overtime loss to Illinois to begin the 2005 season, and it took on a life of its own – “Keep Choppin’.” It refers to focusing on the task at hand and taking care of business, being above all outside distractions. It served the team well throughout 2005 and 2006 – it even became public and a rallying cry among fans during the ’06 season.

Well, enough. Enough of this stupid hokey motivational bullshit. It doesn’t work anymore. It is old, tired, and hackneyed by now. Funny, it seemed to stop having such an effect when guys like Devraun Thompson, Quintero Frierson, Ramel Meekins, Derrick Roberson and Manny Collins graduated. Maybe the success of ’06 was actually more attributable to very good defensive football players than it was to “choppin’.” It seems the team’s performance has fallen off drastically without those players, in addition to Brian Leonard, Cam Stephenson, Darnell Stapleton, Clark Harris, and Sam Johnson on offense. The loss of Joe Radigan has also killed the punting game. The chop has remained (at least in name), but the consistent winning has not.

It is time to shed this symbolic gesture. It only goes so far, and is stretched far too thin by now. It is nothing but a fad, one that has run its course. It probably has more to do with the camera not being on him at the right time than it does with anything else, but I didn’t see Greg Schiano make a “chop” gesture at any of his players tonight during the 41-6 win over Army. During last week’s dismal 38-19 loss to Connecticut, he appeared to be doing it constantly. (Maybe it’s simply because more things went wrong during that game.)

In short, the chop has become a cornball shell of its original self. I think about how into the saying I got last year and I want to punch myself in the face. Rutgers, less talk about chopping and more getting it done on the field. Tonight was a start. There are likely three games left to somewhat salvage this disappointing year. Whether RU is able to get it done or not, I’d rather be spared the “chop” talk. That can’t be the motto forever, can it? They have to come up with some new stuff eventually, right? I hope so. My main hope, however, is that Rutgers players can store the letdowns of this season in their respective minds and head into 2008 with an unshakable focus. Then, and only then, will they be able to ch…work the hardest they can to make their way to the top of the college football world – one slogan at a time.

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