April 09, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Duke spent the spring breaking in a new quarterback and finding out the old one might be back sooner than expected.

Stabilizing that position has been one of the top priorities of the Blue Devils' spring, ever since starter Thomas Sirk ruptured an Achilles tendon in February.

With Sirk sidelined, the job belongs to Parker Boehme, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 66 yards Saturday during a blustery, 70-snap scrimmage that concluded spring practice.

''I was really looking forward to Thomas and (me) competing,'' Boehme said. ''Obviously, he was the (returning starter) so he probably had a little more of a foot in the door going into this year. ... Nothing's given to you, so competition is good around here.''

Those two could be competing again, perhaps sooner than anybody originally thought.

Coach David Cutcliffe has been resolute for the past two months in not setting a timetable for Sirk, who injured his left Achilles tendon during a conditioning workout.

''Thomas may be ready, just so everybody knows,'' Cutcliffe said.

Sirk knows plenty about rehabbing those - he ruptured his other Achilles tendon in 2013 and missed that season - and Cutcliffe says his rehab is about a month ahead of where it was at this point in his recovery from the earlier injury.

Sirk ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference in total offense last season with an average of 285.7 total yards while leading the Blue Devils to an 8-5 record and an overtime victory over Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Cutcliffe says worrying about a timetable is ''the biggest mistake you can make in rehab'' because ''you work to get well, then you work to get back.''

''I'm more concerned with setbacks than what time,'' he added.

So - for now, anyway - it's Boehme's team. He appeared in 10 games last season as Sirk's backup and started one. Boehme completed 43 of 78 passes for 579 yards with two touchdowns and an interception last year. Boehme also averaged 4.0 yards per carry with five touchdown runs.

''For me, it's just like another step in the journey that I've been presented,'' Boehme said.

Boehme says his biggest strides this spring have come on the mental side of the game.

''Having an overall plan way before the ball's ever snapped,'' Boehme said. ''Checking out the defense, even if it's not a pass play, knowing my run checks and assessing what the defense is doing, if we have a bad play on, just checking out of it. The small details and what the defense is doing, to make sure we have a good play every down.''

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Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org

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