The collision between South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia and umpire Wilbur Hackett Jr. in Saturday's loss to LSU has drawn a lot of attention over the past two days, but Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier says Hackett did nothing wrong.
Hackett, a former linebacker at the University of Kentucky from 1967-70, ended up making contact with Garcia after the Gamecocks' QB rolled to his left and headed for the end zone in the second quarter. Hackett and Garcia collided at the 5-yard line as the LSU defense closed in.
"He was trying to get out of the way," Spurrier said of Hackett, according to The State in Columbia, S.C. "Stephen sort of cut back right into him. Sometimes that will happen."
When contacted by ESPN's Joe Schad, the Southeastern Conference office said after reviewing the play, it believes the umpire was in appropriate position. A spokesman said the umpire raised his arm to defend himself after a change of direction by the runner.
Garcia took over at the LSU 8 after a 46-yard interception return by Carlos Thomas. On first and goal, Garcia started running to his right before the hole on the line closed. He then rolled to his left and cut upfield, where he ran into Hackett.
Three plays later, Mike Davis scored on a 1-yard run to give South Carolina a 17-10 lead it would hold at halftime. LSU scored two second-half touchdowns for a 24-17 victory.