USF receiver Sterling Griffin, expected to be a starter this fall, dislocated and fractured his ankle during a voluntary workout Monday morning, though coach Skip Holtz is optimistic the injury won't keep him from playing in 2010.
"He's going to be a while, and we don't know the extent of it all at this point," Holtz said. "The bone is a six-to-eight week deal, right about the beginning of the season. I don't know how much damage (there is) until some of the swelling (goes down), but very definitely, he'll play for us this season."
Griffin's injury is significant - Holtz said an ambulance was called because the dislocated ankle didn't immediately pop back into place.
USF already had unexpected losses at receiver. Carlton Mitchell skipped his senior year to enter the NFL draft, and senior A.J. Love suffered a serious knee injury in the spring game but hopes to return for part of the season.
Griffin, who had 14 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman, was penciled in as a starter.
"I hate it for him, but somebody's going to have to step up," Holtz said during a booster dinner at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club. "We will really look for some of the incoming freshmen to come in and make a difference."
In other USF news, receiver Colby Erskin, a former walk-on from Seminole who is recovering from his third ACL injury, has been granted a sixth year by the NCAA. Holtz said he might not have a scholarship available for Erskin, who has graduated and is eligible to transfer and play elsewhere immediately.
Florida: After dedicating the past six months mostly to the track and field team, running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey will return to football full time this week.
* * *
South Carolina wins CWS opener 7-1
OMAHA, Neb. - Blake Cooper allowed three hits in eight-plus innings and Bobby Haney drove in a career-high three runs, moving South Carolina within a win of its first national title with a 7-1 victory over UCLA in Game 1 of the College World Series final.
Pitching on three days' rest for the second straight time, Cooper struck out 10 and carried a one-hitter into the ninth before running into trouble.
South Carolina fans cheered a drawn-out "COOOOOP" as the senior right-hander left after 136 pitches and the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth. Reliever John Taylor finished.
Gerrit Cole (11-4) pitched seven innings and took the loss.
The Gamecocks (53-16) and Bruins (51-16) play Game 2 at 7:30 tonight (ESPN).
The first hit against Cooper came with one out in the fifth, when No. 9 batter Steve Rodriguez dropped a single down the rightfield line. Cooper (13-2) retired the next 11 before Cody Regis led off the ninth with a single to right. Marc Navarro walked, and Jeff Gelalich singled to chase Cooper.
South Carolina collected 11 of its 14 hits and six runs, four earned, against Cole. Cole had struck out 13 in eight innings in a win over TCU in his previous start, but he had only two strikeouts Monday. He was hurt by two UCLA errors.
Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.