Umpire gives Gamecocks QB the shiver

By now I would imagine there aren’t many sports fans in the country who haven’t seen the clip of SEC official Wilbur Hackett giving a forearm shiver to Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia (video).  I think it was just an instinctive move by Hackett, but I have to say it could easily be interpreted as being intentional (and has been by a lot of message board posters).

I didn’t know the identity of the umpire, and so out of curiosity I looked him up.  It turns out that Hackett is a veteran SEC official, and he has an interesting personal history.  If you thought he looked like a linebacker on that play, well, maybe it’s because he was a linebacker — for Kentucky, in the 1960s.  Hackett was one of the first black football players in the SEC.

While researching this, I discovered an old article from the Los Angeles Times about the integration of the Kentucky football program.  It recounts a tragic death that I had never read about before, and includes comments from Hackett and longtime Atlanta Falcons center Jeff Van Note, as well as an anecdote illustrating the coolness of Archie Manning.  It’s worth a read:



That’s what The Citadel played Saturday.  There certainly was no discernible “D” to be seen, at least in blue and white…

The final stats don’t really tell the story, because the Bulldogs made them (and the score) respectable in the 4th quarter, when the game was over.  The bottom line was The Citadel couldn’t get Furman’s offense off the field, especially in the second quarter (the Paladins had the ball for over 10 minutes in that frame alone).  Bart Blanchard didn’t have a good day, the offensive line didn’t have a good day, three different running backs dropped passes…and yet the biggest problem (by far) was the defense’s inability to make a stop, any stop.  Furman ran delayed handoffs and intermediate pass plays for good yardage all day long, the Bulldogs got no pressure on the QB…it was just ugly.

Some notes, then a few pictures (and no, my photography skills aren’t the best):

— For the people behind me who kept yelling that Scott Flanagan was open on every play…no, no he wasn’t.

— During the game, the fellow in front of me handed his binoculars to a fan sitting beside him.  The other fan had some trouble initially figuring out how they worked (understandably, if you had seen them).  The first guy explained, “I got these from the Iraqi army.  They’re a Russian make.”

I bet not every school has fans using binoculars like that.

— I have finally come around to the idea that we have to do something about our cheerleaders.  I was in favor of just ignoring the situation, but yesterday I watched a tubby little 10-year-old girl in the stands mock our cheerleaders for the better part of 10 minutes, without any provocation whatsoever.

— Furman’s announced attendance of 9,644 apparently included at least 1,500 invisible fans.  I think the folks at Furman have to be disappointed with the attendance, but I suspect it’s probably just a sign of the economic times.

— Furman’s players run through one of those blow-up helmets (pictured below).  I’ve always liked those.

— The guy riding Furman’s horse took off his helmet/mask before the game started and rode around bareheaded the rest of the time.  Why?  It ruins the gimmick.  He should wear the helmet the entire time he is in public view.  Instead of a knight riding his trusty steed, we got to see a decidedly nondescript bald dude riding a horse.