|photo by Paul Videla|
A couple of bumps in the road this summer have made it even more difficult.
Junior Trevon Walters, expected to slide into the starting role to replace the since-graduated Allen, suffered a hip injury last week.
And senior Taren Cotton, who scored a touchdown in last year's Class 7A state final, fractured his jaw in two places and is expected to miss four to six weeks, said coach Joe Kinnan.
Yet not all the news is grim. Kinnan said Walters returned to full contact this week and is expected to play Friday when the Hurricanes host Seminole Osceola in a Kickoff Classic.
Cotton's injury has allowed 5-foot-7, 169-pound freshman Johnnie Lang to get some reps.
"He's been impressive thus far," Kinnan said of Lang.
Manatee will get extra time to heal following Friday's game - the Hurricanes open the season next Sunday, Sept. 2 againt Miramar in a game that will be broadcast live on ESPN2.