The quarterback guru

CLEMSON - As quarterback gurus go, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is among the top in college football.



The Blue Devils' fifth-year head coach has tutored a number of notable quarterbacks during his career. From Heath Shuler to the Mannings -- Eli and Peyton -- to Erik Ainge and Thaddeus Lewis, Cutcliffe's quarterbacks are usually among the nation's top passers.

Sean Renfree, who's started under center at Duke for the last three years, is the most accurate passer in school history. This season, he's completed 68.6 percent of his passes [177 of 258] for 1,885 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

But Renfree isn't the only quarterback that's helped Duke to a 6-3 record [3-2 ACC].

Anthony Boone has played in all nine games this season, completing 49 of 91 throws for 531 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He's also rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

Brandon Connette chips in as a short-yardage ball carrier. He's rushed 24 times for 61 yards with a team-high five touchdowns.

"They're very efficient, smart with what they do schematically, good decision making at quarterback," Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "They have a couple of guys that cause you problems with their arm strength, decision making and ability."

Venables added, "They've got a two quarterback package where they've got two quarterbacks on the field at once, they try to get you to pick your poison of what you want to do schematically. They've got a lot of depth for what they do, offensively."

Given the doubt surrounding Renfree's availability for Saturday, that's not a bad thing for Duke. The senior suffered a head injury in last weekend's loss at Florida State.

"All of those three quarterbacks have the ability to execute and manage the offense," Venables said. "They've caused a lot of people, this year, a lot of problems."

Duke's passing offense is 36th in the country with 271.6 yards per game.

The quarterbacks have three of the top receiving options in the ACC with Conner Vernon, Jamison Crowder and Desmond Scott.

Vernon, who owns the ACC's all-time record for receptions, has 54 catches for 761 yards and five touchdowns. Crowder has 53 receptions for 645 yards and five scores while Scott has 45 catches for 453 yards.

The Blue Devils rank 97th nationally in rushing with 123.9 yards per game.

On the ground, Jela Duncan leads Duke with 385 yards and is second with four touchdowns. Josh Snead and Juwan Thompson have both eclipsed the 200-yard rushing mark.

"They run it really well. A couple of weeks ago, it was the deciding factor in how they beat North Carolina," Venables said.

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