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Pitt notebook: Kicker provides big lift at practice

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Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

• Pitt freshman kicker Chris Blewitt created the most excitement of the first two days of training camp when he hit field goals of 29, 35, 41 and 47 yards at the end of practice Tuesday. Coach Paul Chryst put a value on the last one, threatening to have players do down-ups if Blewitt missed. The team cheered when Blewitt split the uprights. Chryst liked the enthusiasm, but it didn't surprise him. “I put a little wager on it,” Chryst said. “There was a reason for them to rally.”

• Wide receiver Devin Street crashed hard to the grass when he dived for a long, incomplete pass. He stayed on the ground for several seconds before walking back to the group and using an inhaler to help him catch his breath. “I'm in shape. I have to get back into football shape,” he said. “I should have got up quicker. Next time, I will.” A few snaps later, he caught another long pass from quarterback Tom Savage. “That's what you have to do, come back and respond,” he said. “I have to train myself now so in the game it comes easy.”

• Pitt associate athletic director Chris Ferris said the university has sold 88 percent of its season tickets. At this time a year ago, Pitt had sold only 70 percent, he said. Ferris also said he expects to sell all 10,000 of the student tickets.

• When he was promoted, defensive coordinator Matt House promised to use many players. So far, he has done that. “We are trying to expose a bunch of different guys to a bunch of different situations,” he said.

• Pitt still could be haunted by a return to Birmingham, Ala., for a bowl game. The ACC completed its bowl lineup for the 2014-2019 seasons, and the Birmingham game will be a second conditional choice if another conference it is tied to can't send a team. BBVA Compass will end its sponsorship of the game after this season.

— Jerry DiPaola

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