The Man Behind Renfree's Success

Duke QB Sean Renfree enjoys a breakout season, it's his coach who deserves much of the credit.

Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen is preparing his team to take down Duke Saturday – that’s not a question.

Heading into their matchup, the opposing quarterback is a main focus. Redshirt sophomore signal caller Sean Renfree is leading his offense with over 1,000 passing yards, nine scores and a 134.79 passer rating. He’s completed 62 percent of his passes, and attempted 150 passes. For comparison’s sake, Florida Gator’s quarterback has attempted 114. Clearly they want the ball in this guy’s hands.

But it’s his head coach, the quarterback guru, the offensive mastermind – David Cutcliffe – who’s behind the scenes, helping his young gunslinger along.

Cutcliffe had an above .600 record in his at Ole Miss, while coaching his teams to four bowl victories in five appearances during a six-year tenure. He earned SEC Coach of the Year honors in 2003.

In his time with the Tennessee Vols, Cutcliffe excelled in his role as assistance head coach and offensive coordinator. He taught the likes of Eli and Peyton Manning; ever heard of them? Add that to the fact that Cutcliffe is the only SEC coach to have two different quarterbacks pass for over 10,000 career yards.

I think Renfree is in good hands.

In 2008, when Cutcliffe accepted the head coaching position with Duke, he inherited a team more adept and calculating passer ratings than throwing passes. But after Cutcliffe was handed the reign, the team has managed a 10-17 record.

All signs are pointing up for the Blue Devils. Heading into the fifth week of the college football season, Duke has emerged as the third best offense and second best passing offense, 32 yards behind the leader, North Carolina State.

Most importantly for the Blue Devils, Renfree is a star in the making, someone Friedgen suggested will be among the best in the nation in the near future. And Renfree is blessed with talented playmakers around him.

Wide receivers Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner rank first and fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in receiving yards. Vernon is tied for second most touchdown receptions behind the five hauled in by Maryland’s Torrey Smith.

The Duke rushing attack has also been rejuvenated under Cutcliffe. Desmond Scott is the ACC’s fifth-leading rusher, averaging 6.5 yards per carry for over 270 total yards and two touchdowns. They also feature an emerging back, freshman Josh Snead, who is averaging over five yards per carry.

In 2009, the Duke passing attacked ranked ninth in the country. Coming into their matchup versus the Terps, they’re already 15th-best.

Maryland will have their hands full come Saturday – so many weapons; so much talent; so much success. Last season, the Terps allowed nearly 400 yards during their matchup, 371 through the air. It’s no wonder Friedgen seemed adamant in preparing for them this go around.


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