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Archive for Tuesday, January 14, 1992

FOOTBALLER SWITCHES TO BASEBALL

January 14, 1992

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A forgotten man in football last fall, primarily because of a shoulder injury, Nate Florell will also play baseball for Kansas this season.

KU's second-team quarterback two years ago, Florell was moved to fullback for his junior season, but never played a down because of the injury.

A 6-3, 205-pounder, Florell is listed as a pitcher-outfielder on the baseball roster. He has two years of eligibility remaining in baseball; one in football.

"He's been away from the game from a while. We can't expect Nate to jump in right away," KU baseball coach Dave Bingham said of the former ninth-round draft pick of the New York Mets out of Chicago Sullivan High.

"MAYBE BY the end of the year, he'll be in a position to help us. Even Cale Gundy last year was somewhat ineffective early playing for Oklahoma," added Bingham, referring to Oklahoma's sophomore quarterback, who pitched for the Sooners after a year off. "He helped them considerably at the end of the year and in the Big Eight Tournament."

Florell has been taking part in the baseball team's conditioning workouts. Practice will begin next Wednesday. KU's first game is against Grand Canyon U. on Feb. 12 in Phoenix.

"We know he has an outstanding arm," Bingham said of Florell. "The key is if Nate has an interest in spending time with it. The area in which he could help us the quickest is pitching. We talked about getting in baseball shape, getting his arm ready to go."

THE JAYHAWKS return all eight position starters and the starting designated hitter off last year's 25-28 team. Three starting pitchers also return.

The players have been working out several times a week in the football weight room.

"Our football program is so cooperative. We use that strength room (in Anschutz Pavilion). Most of our teams train in there," Bingham said. "It's a credit to coach Mason and Fred Roll (strength coach) that they give us time in there to get our work in."

Starting next Wednesday, the Jayhawks will work out three weeks before the opener. Chances are workouts will be held inside Anschutz.

"Last year, we worked indoors Jan. 27, and didn't practice indoors again," Bingham said, noting the weather was mild. "We were really sharp by the start of the season.

"This is my 20th year coaching in this part of the country. We've seen it some years with no snow on the ground and others where we practice inside to get ready."

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