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Duke notes: Renfree feeling good after first practice

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DURHAM -- No Duke player was more eager to start fall practice Monday night than quarterback Sean Renfree, who tore his ACL last November and had to sit out spring drills while he rehabbed. Coach David Cutcliffe was impressed with how the sophomore – who must replace four-year starter Thad Lewis -- threw the ball and managed the offense during his first official practice back.

Most significant for Renfree was that he never gave his surgically repaired knee a thought.

“I didn’t think about it at all, to be honest,’’ he said. “ I thought I might be, like, ‘Ooh, that didn’t feel good.’ But I was telling a lot of people, I feel the best that I ever have since I’ve been at Duke. My knee feels great, and I didn’t think about it for a second today.”

FRESHMAN SIDELINED: Blue Devils freshman safety Quan Stevenson is sidelined indefinitely after having surgery three weeks ago to repair ligaments in his knee. He got hurt during a players-only workout during the the summer, Cutcliffe said.

RUNNERS IMPRESSIVE: It’s early yet, but Cutcliffe has reason to hope Duke’s running game will improve after last year’s worst-in-the-ACC effort. “The thing most pleasing offensively was [that] our backs were very evident tonight,’’ he said after the team’s first workout.  “It’s the best we’ve looked as a group at running back.

Freshmen Josh Snead and Juwan Thompson caught everyone’s eye, he said, while returning tailbacks Desmond Scott and Jay Hollingsworth looked faster.

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About the blogger

Robbi Pickeral has covered ACC sports for The News & Observer since 2003. She can be reached at