Cutcliffe sticking with Renfree at QB

Staff WriterOctober 18, 2010 

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Sunday that Sean Renfree will remain the team's starting quarterback despite his recent woes, including a six-turnover performance during a 28-13 loss to Miami on Saturday in Durham.

"After looking at it, I still believe that Sean Renfree gives us our best chance to win," Cutcliffe said during a teleconference. "He's our starting quarterback."

Renfree completed 18 of 38 pass attempts for 157 yards and five interceptions against Miami. He was sacked twice and fumbled once. He was replaced in the fourth quarterback by freshman Brandon Connette, who has been used primarily as a running option this season.

Renfree, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound redshirt sophomore, has thrown 14 interceptions this season, including 10 in the past three games. He has entered a frustrating period in his season struggling with accuracy, after starting this season with some of the best passing numbers in the ACC.

Cutcliffe said he spoke with Renfree by phone Saturday night and again in person on Sunday. He said his young quarterback has rushed to release his passes, something he started doing during the Blue Devils' 62-13 loss to Alabama on Sept. 18.

"I think sometimes you forget as a quarterback, the most important thing to be is yourself," Cutcliffe said. "Sean's a technician, he's a really smart quarterback. He doesn't have to force and make plays. I think he's gotten outside of himself a little."

Renfree has passed for 1,621 yards and 10 TDs this season.

Looking further at the Blue Devils (1-5, 0-3 ACC), Cutcliffe said the offense, despite its inefficiency on Saturday, still has weapons - in particular, wide receivers Austin Kelly, Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon, each of whom has more than 30 receptions this season.

He said freshman Connette will remain a backup but may factor more prominently in the offense.

"We're not hanging our head offensively," said Cutcliffe, who acknowledged, though, that Renfree collecting himself will be a major part of the Blue Devils' turnaround as they face Virginia Tech on Saturday.

robinson@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4781

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