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Gino Torretta has gone from being the nation’s top college f

July 16, 1993

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) _ Gino Torretta has gone from being the nation’s top college football player to a fifth-string professional with the Minnesota Vikings.

But Torretta, last year’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Miami, says his career is right on track.

″Things are going good,″ Torretta said after Friday’s morning workout at Mankato State. ″It’s different out there playing. Right now I’m thinking a lot, and I can’t let my natural abilities come out as much.

″I’m learning the offense pretty quickly.″

Torretta, who signed a contract Wednesday night, said the transition from college football to professional shouldn’t be very tough.

″You can only make this game so difficult,″ he said. ″The main difference is a lot of mental preparation.

″The athletes along the offensive and defensive lines are a big difference. All my receivers and a lot of the secondary at Miami are in the pros so that won’t be a big difference.″

Torretta said he was disappointed he wasn’t drafted higher. The Vikings took the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder in the seventh round.

But he’s put that disappointment behind him.

″I can’t worry about the past. I can only worry about the present,″ he said. ″I have to worry about making the team.″

Torretta, a 56 percent career passer, was 26-1 as a starter at Miami, where he threw for 7,690 yards and 47 touchdowns in his career. He set a school record last year when he attempted 123 passes without an interception.

Torretta is battling four others quarterbacks: Jim McMahon, Rich Gannon, Sean Salisbury and Brad Johnson, who played at Torretta’s rival Florida State. With that many arms that need work, Torretta said it’s important to be ready when his name is called.

″When you get in there you have to make a quality rep,″ he said. ″You have to make every repetition count.″

Vikings’ offensive coordinator Jack Burns said it’s too early to tell, but he feels Torretta has a bright future.

″He’s a very smart player and a good competitor,″ Burns said. ″He has the skills to be a starter in this league. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.″

Head coach Dennis Green is also high on Torretta.

″Gino has the potential to play in the National Football League,″ Green said. ″Gino’s smart, he’s got a good, solid arm and he’s a great competitor.″

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