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Duke's Renfree urged to cut loose

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Tags: ACC Now | Duke

Duke coach David Cutcliffe urged his starting quarterback Sean Renfree to just "cut loose and go play."

Cutcliffe, who has built his career around shaping quarterbacks, said the redshirt junior has played with some hesitancy this season. Speaking on the ACC teleconference on Wednesday, Cutcliffe said that Renfree has been an accurate passer, yet he sometimes overthinks as a coach might. 

As the Blue Devils (0-2) look for their first win, they head to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face Boston College (0-2) on Saturday in an ACC-opener for both teams. The Devils will need Renfree, who overcame 17 interceptions last season to throw for 3,131 yards and 14 touchdowns, to play like his laid-back self.

"I think Sean played very fast a year go, made his decisions and got rid of the football," Cutcliffe said. "Right now, I think he's gotten himself in a mode where he's very knowlegeable and he's worked very hard.

"I think he has two concerns: One, he's got a lot going through his mind and sometimes you forget to play quarterback. Two, I think he's so trying to please everyone, and not let his teammates down with a mistake, that it's limiting his ability to go out there and compete and have fun."

Renfree has completed 42 of 60 passing attempts for 380 yards and no touchdowns in two games this season. The Devils have fallen 23-21 to Richmond and 44-14 to Stanford.  

Renfree has not thrown an interception this season, though he fumbled against Richmond.

"He's physically fine," said Cutcliffe, who has counseled Renfree to understand his playbook like a coach but perform like a player. 

"You have to function," Cutcliffe said. "You just can't think too much playing quarterback. There's got to be reaction involved."

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About the blogger

Edward joined the News & Observer staff in 2004. He is a graduate of American University and Johns Hopkins University. He covers Wake Forest football and women's college basketball for the N&O. Edward is a native of Washington, D.C. He can be reached at 829-4781 or