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Pitt football notebook: DB Pardner battles back from knee injury

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Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, 6:33 p.m.

• Pitt freshman defensive back Jahmahl Pardner has found a unique way of getting over the mental handicap associated with a knee injury. “I wake up every morning and tell myself it never happened, so I'll be fine,” he said. “I believe mentally I am 100 percent. Really, I am 80-85 percent. I lost a little speed. It's tough. It's humbling. It's hard to sit back and watch other people do things you want to do.” Pardner, who redshirted last season after three games when he hurt his knee against Virginia Tech, is back making plays in the secondary. He is trying to reclaim his spot in the nickel and dime pass defenses.

• Freshman kicker Chris Blewitt's strong leg has been one of the highlights of camp. He has connected on field goals from 41, 42, 47 and 49 yards. But he has yet to reach his personal best — 51, a record he holds at West Potomac (Va.) High School. He also established the school record for the longest punt (79 yards). In high school, Blewitt (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) was a soccer player who switched to football. “I liked crushing the ball more,” he said. He also played receiver and defensive back early in high school. “Until the varsity (kicker) broke his leg and they said, ‘You're done.' ” His dream: Running with the football on a fake field goal. “That's what I'm waiting for,” he said.

• Senior wide receiver Devin Street said freshman Tyler Boyd is living up to his hype. “He's smart, and he plays the game with a passion,” Street said on TribLive Radio. “We are definitely going to see some big things out of him. He never came in cocky or arrogant. He is working to earn his spot.”

• Players get their first day off Monday before returning to practice Tuesday. The team has its first scrimmage of camp Friday. Practices are closed to the public.

— Jerry DiPaola

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