DURHAM — There's a reason Greg Paulus has to look elsewhere to play quarterback in 2009. Duke quarterbacks Thad Lewis and Sean Renfree were both effective in Saturday's spring game at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Renfree, a redshirt freshman, completed 15-of-24 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns to lead White to a 24-17 win. Lewis, a senior, hit on 17-of-23 attempts for 257 yards. He ran for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns.
Paulus, who just finished his basketball career at Duke, created headlines last week with a workout for the Green Bay Packers and visit to the University of Michigan. Duke coach David Cutcliffe offered Paulus a chance to play receiver, but he wants to play quarterback.
The Blue Devils weren't overwhelming in its second spring game under Cutcliffe, but they were better. The same progress Duke showed in 2008 — cutting down on self-inflicted errors, penalties and general lack of direction — was evident on Saturday and then some. Consider last year's spring game ended 14-3 with only one offensive touchdown.
"Absolutely, you can see the difference," Cutcliffe said. "Last year, we were just practicing to learn how to practice."
Duke will miss receiver Eron Riley, who was a big downfield target and could create big plays, but the Devils showed some speed, namely in Donovan Varner (six catches, 116 yards), which should help their offense.
Ultimately, Duke will go as far as Lewis takes it. For the first time in his college career, he has the same offensive coordinator for the second straight year. That comfort level should help him improve on last year's touchdown total, which dropped to 15 (from 21 in '07).
Cutcliffe expects the Devils to compete for their first bowl bid since 1994.
"We're a good football team," Cutcliffe said. "We're certainly not a great football team but we're a good football team. I thought [we] played like one today."