Pitt Notebook: Effort pays off for Baldwin


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Pitt receiver Jonathan Baldwin had a spectacular game Saturday night against Notre Dame in prime time on national television.

Yesterday, he was honored for that effort in the Panthers' 27-22 victory as he was named the Big East offensive player of the week.

Baldwin had five catches for 142 yards and a touchdown, but beyond that, he made three highlight-reel catches. His most impressive catch was a diving 36-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter that gave the Panthers a 10-3 lead.

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said Baldwin is transforming from just a tall guy who runs fast into an excellent and well-rounded football player.

"Two weeks ago against Syracuse, we gave out the Big Block Award, where it's an offensive player that makes a block in a game that is an attention grabber or makes a difference in a big play," Wannstedt said in his teleconference yesterday. "Jonathan got that award on a run, and I say that because I think that Jonathan is becoming -- hasn't become, but is becoming -- a more complete player. Whether he's getting the ball or he's not getting the ball or it's a run or a pass, he's doing all of those things much better.

"Last year was really a situation where we would basically throw him the ball deep or on one or two routes. He's learning the game, I think he's matured as a person, and I can't wait to see him a year or two from now. I think he's just going to get better."

But Baldwin was in the news yesterday for another reason -- he was supposed to be in court for a hearing for an incident in April. He was arrested and charged April 19 with a misdemeanor indecent assault and summary disorderly conduct and harassment for an incident involving a female student on a campus bus.

The hearing was postponed, however, until Jan. 11.

Athletic department spokesman E.J. Borghetti said Baldwin's discipline has already been "handled internally" and that the hearing had been postponed twice already.

Berry ailing, but not out

Starting senior cornerback Aaron Berry injured his shoulder Saturday night and it appeared to be serious when he came off the field and did not return to the game. Berry had injured the same shoulder earlier this season and missed the Rutgers game because of it.

"He's day to day," Wannstedt said. "This is a good week to have a bye for guys like Aaron. He was in here [Sunday] and did fine, though he is sore. It was not a season-ending injury or anything like that, so he's just going to work through it.

"[Berry's injury] provided a learning experience [for several young defensive backs who had to fill in] and they did fine against probably the best one-two combination of receivers in the country. And [safety] Jarred Holley has been a pleasant addition."

Quick hits

The Pitt-West Virginia game Nov. 27 will be a 7 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on ESPN2. ... Tight end Dorin Dickerson was named as one of the eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award for the nation's best tight end. He has 43 receptions for 496 yards and 10 touchdowns, which is the most in the nation by a tight end. ... Wannstedt said the off week will be used to allow the players to get healthy and mentally prepared for the final two games. "We play at West Virginia and then Cincinnati, we have as tough of a two-game stretch to finish our season as anyone in the country," Wannstedt said. ... Pitt's lone loss was at North Carolina State (38-31). The Panthers led that game, 31-17, but had a fourth-quarter meltdown and the Wolfpack came back and won. That, according to Wannstedt, was the turning point of the season. "Our players learned a tough lesson that day, that a game is not over until the end and that you have to finish every game strong," he said.




Paul Zeise can be reached at pzeise@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1720


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