Pitt football notebook: Freshman lineman Johnson fared well in 1st start
• Pitt offensive line coach Jim Hueber said freshman Dorian Johnson, a Belle Vernon product, had good and bad moments during his first career start Saturday at Georgia Tech. “He needed to go play and get it out his system, good or bad,” Hueber said. “I don't think he was overwhelmed by the situation. Nothing that happened in that game can hurt him down the road.” Hueber said Adam Bisnowaty will regain his starting job when he recovers from a back injury.
•• Johnson said he was disappointed in his pass protection, but watching the video was helpful. “When I was out on the field, I thought I did a lot better than I actually did,” he said. “I was kind of disappointed, but I thought it wasn't too bad for my first game. It was a good experience. I have a better feel for how much different the speed of the game is.”
• Tony Dorsett, Pitt's only Heisman Trophy winner, said he will attend the Notre Dame game Saturday. He hopes to see improvements in the program. “I know Paul Chryst is a good coach, but we have to get some ballers and some athletes in there. The program, to me, seems like it has slipped a little bit from the national scene.”
• Dorsett said he spoke with former Pitt running back Rushel Shell at a funeral. The subject of Shell's transfer to West Virginia never arose. “I didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable,” he said. “He has a chance to have a great career. I'm hoping and praying that he does. I want nothing but the best for the young man.”
• The Football Writers Association of America named defensive tackle Aaron Donald the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week.
— Jerry DiPaola