Duke coach David Cutcliffe wants to be clear: There is no quarterback controversy stemming from his decision to pull starting quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and replace him with backup Sean Renfree on Saturday in the Blue Devils’ 35-19 victory over Army.
"This is not that kind of team [to have a quarterback controversy]," Cutfliffe said. "We just have so much improving to do."
Lewis, a senior who has served as a starter for three seasons, completed 5 of 16 pass attempts for 60 yards and a touchdown before he was replaced in the third quarter by the redshirt freshman Renfree.
He completed 7 of 8 pass attempts for 106 yards two touchdowns, helping the Devils rally from a 10-7 half-time deficit.
"It's basically a statement of confidence in your backup," Cutcliffe said. "I had intended to play him last week and I didn't. I made my mind up we would play him [Saturday] regardless of circumstance. It's not anykind of statement in anything other than confidence in Sean."
He said he felt Renfree had a "hot hand" and let him stay in the game.
"It's one game, and not even a full game," Renfree said. "This is over. You can't really take much away from a quarter-and-a-half. It shocked me when they said, 'You're in there.' "
Renfree said Lewis supported him throughout.
"You'd expect any other quarterback to just kind of hand his head, but Thad was the opposite," he said. "He was coming over to me all the time, saying 'Hey you're doing great. Keep doing what you're doing. I'm here for you.' He says he's a cheerleader, but he's a leader. He's a leader for this team and to me. I look up to him. When he says something like that, I listen."
Added Lewis, who threw his 50th career touchdown in the game: "It's a team effort. Sean went our there and executed well, and the team executed well. That's what you do as a team; every does their part, and everybody brings something different to the table."