Rating the Colorado Roster – QB’s

UPDATE … The Daily Camera has posted an interview with CU quarterback Sefo Liufau. The full story can be found here.

The opening … Now that he is more than a half year removed from his sophomore season, Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau can reflect with some perspective and not just feel that sick feeling in his stomach that comes from so many missed opportunities.

It started in the fourth quarter of the season opener last fall for the CU football team. The Buffs were tied with Colorado State when the final quarter began, but they surrendered 17 unanswered points and lost. Losing close games late in one fashion or another became the signature of the 2014 campaign for Liufau and his teammates.

… Liufau believes he and his teammates will benefit in 2015 from all those sour moments they’ve been rehashing in their minds for months now.

“I think it has helped a lot. I think it has put some fire into some guys in terms of working even harder than last year,” Liufau said. “It also showed guys that we can play with the best teams and we can beat the best teams. I think my freshman year it was tough. I don’t know if a lot of guys had the mentality of, ‘We can go out there and play.’ Last year, we had the mentality that we could play with the guys, but I don’t know if we had the mentality that we could win. So I think the guys now can see that we can win in the Pac-12 in any game.”

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Colorado Quarterback Roster

Players lost: None

Seniors: None

Juniors: Sefo Liufau, Jordan Gehrke

Sophomores: T.J. Patterson

Red-shirt freshmen: Cade Apsay; Will Fischer-Colbrie

Coming this fall: Steven Montez

bold = starter in 2014; italics = non-scholarship player

2014 statistics for returning players:

– Sefo Liufau … 325-of-498, 3,200 yards … 28 touchdowns; 15 interceptions … 69 rushes for 136 yards … sacked 18 times

… Liufau set over two dozen school records last season, including: most passing attempts, season, 498 (old record: 424, Cody Hawkins, 2007) … most pass completions, season,325 (old record: 241, Joel Klatt, 2005) … most touchdown passes, season,28 (old record: 22, Koy Detmer, 1996) … most consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass, 20 (current – old record: 9, Koy Detmer and Cody Hawkins)

– Jordan Gehrke … 20-of-44, 170 yards … 0 touchdowns; 0 interceptions … 11 rushes for 15 yards … sacked four times

Spring practice news

… “It’s been a journey and it’s been a long one with this team,” Sefo Liufau said after the Spring Game, a “game” in which Liufau completed three-of-four pass attempts. “Our ultimate goal is to win and I think we’re heading in the right direction. I think the camaraderie and the teamwork is coming along and if we just put in the work, we’ll be a lot better off than what we were last year.”

… “I think we ran the ball a lot better, not that we didn’t run the ball well beforehand, but I think we found a rhythm,” Liufau said. “The offensive line and the running backs did a really good job this spring camp and hopefully we can improve that even more over the summer and make it a dual-threat offense next season.”

Jordan Gehrke played in three games last season, including a start at Oregon in November. He said he has worked hard to get stronger so far this offseason and is paying special attention to improving his footwork. He said the improvements he believes he is making are more subtle but will help make him more successful when his next opportunity comes.

“I’m confident,” Gehrke said. “I got some playing time last year, so that really helped with me mentally and everything. I know what’s expected. I’m ready to go.”

What others say about the Colorado quarterbacks

Athlon’s – Junior Sefo Liufau will enter this season as the starting quarterback for the second consecutive year, hoping to build upon his success as a sophomore while also focusing on taking better care of the ball. He has 18 starts under his belt, has attempted 749 passes and thrown for nearly 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. There is a lot to like about that experience, but Liufau also has thrown 23 interceptions, and he’ll have to dramatically curtail his miscues for the Buffs to take a big step forward in the win column.

Athlon’s quarterback ranking for Colorado … 7th in the Pac-12.

Lindy’s – Sefo Liufau and Nelson Spruce formed one of the more underrated quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the Pac-12 last season.

The Sporting News – Although Colorado must replace both guards, its passing game has a proven connection between quarterback Sefo Liufau and wide receiver Nelson Spruce.

The Bottom Line

Junior Sefo Liufau is on pace to own most of the quarterback records at the University of Colorado … including the most losses by a starting quarterback.

And therein lies the rub.

Liufau has, for the most part, been effective as the signal caller for the Buffs. Colorado was 19th in the nation in passing last season and 37th in total offense … more than respectable numbers. Liufau and Nelson Spruce rewrote the CU record books last season, and will likely set new standards in 2015. And yes, it is very true that Liufau cannot be held responsible for the Colorado defense being ranked 100th or worse in every major statistical area.

But wins and losses, not records, are the stuff of which legacies are made (ask Cody Hawkins).

Sefo Liufau and Jared Goff at Cal came into similar situations two years ago. Both were true freshmen quarterbacks. Both were playing for new head coaches which were in their first seasons in the Pac-12 after being successful head coaches for non-Power-Five schools. And both were thrown into the deep end of the pool very early.

Two years later, Jared Goff is being touted (by Athlon and Lindy’s) as the second-best quarterback in the Pac-12. Cal is being projected to have a winning season and a bowl appearance in 2015. Meanwhile, Sefo Liufau is setting records every week … but not posting victories.

“I think we were really close last year,” Liufau said. “Week in and week out when you go out and play tough games and lose by a couple of points or whatever it gets frustrating. I definitely think since then the team has improved in so many aspects. Hopefully we can fix the one or two mistakes that cost us those games last year.

“I think we’re going to have a really good year. I don’t like to say we’re going to have a really good year because I don’t like to promise people anything. This team is more mature; it has a lot more fight in it now. If we keep pushing ourselves and continue to improve then we’ll have a really good year.”

It would be a major upset if Liufau is not the starting quarterback against Hawai’i on September 3rd. Barring injury, it would be hard to see Jordan Gehrke beating Liufau out of the job in Fall Camp, or true freshman Steven Montez being so impressive upon hitting the CU campus that he displaces Liufau as the starter this season.

So it’s up to Liufau to not only be a leader of the team (one of CU’s team captains last year as a sophomore), but actually lead the team to victories.

CU Quarterback Roster Grade – B … With a better supporting cast, Sefo Liufau could turn into something special in his final two seasons at CU. The turnover issue, however, must be corrected, and the depth chart for the unit as a whole is frighteningly thin.




4 Replies to “Rating the CU Roster – QB’s”

  1. The Cal team had a lot of 4* and even 5* recruits on that team before Goff. That team played poorly so the coach was changed but the talent remained. If CU coaches had Cal’s talent we would be winning far more games. It will take a while to catch up talent wise, but we’ll get the wins.

  2. Sefo will be just fine. It’s hard to believe that anyone hurt more from the miscues than he did, and I believe he will mature as the starting QB. That debacle at the end of the first half against UCLA has to be something running through his mind continually. I can’t believe he didn’t learn something from that.

    Unlike Mr. Hawkins, Sefo wants the team to win, not his place in the record books. Rather than padding his stats (see Peyton Manning for an example of a statsheet winner and “key” game loser), Sefo will sacrifice himself for the team. It will pay off. The team rallies around him, and he will reward that team support

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