Thanks, Sefo

He was right there, not more than 20 feet away.

The scene: the San Antonio airport … Friday night, the day after the Alamo Bowl, around 6:15 p.m.

Two Delta flights were preparing for boarding. My flight was heading out of gate B-4, heading for Salt Lake City, the first leg on my trip back to Bozeman.

The flight heading out of gate B-3 was heading to Seattle.

In the waiting area, there were more than a few Colorado coats and sweatshirts to be seen. There were perhaps some “Shirts of Shame” being worn the day after CU had lost to No. 13 Oklahoma State, 38-8, in the Alamo Bowl, but there was still plenty of Buff Nation pride on display as well (as for me, I was wearing my “Pac-12 South Champions” sweatshirt, thank you very much!).

And he was right there, not more than 20 feet away.

The main reason the black-and-gold faithful were there in the San Antonio airport that night.

The main reason the Buffs had snapped a ten-year drought of losing campaigns. The main reason why #TheRise was more than just a slogan in the 2016 season.

He was right there, waiting for his ticket group to be called. Just another traveler, sitting around, anxious to board and get on their way home.

Sefo Liufau.

Now, I did have an “in” to go and say hello. I had met Sefo in February, when I was on a tour of the new Champions Center. Hell, I had even met his father, on a chance meeting on the shuttle train at the Denver International Airport after the Arizona State game. Both men were polite, quiet, and humble – like father; like son.

I wanted to go over to Sefo, shake his hand, and just say, “thank you”.

Thank you for all you have done for the program over the past four years.

Yes, there were many, many, records set (100 in all), but that will not be Sefo’s legacy. What Liufau brought to the CU program was a grit, a heart, a determination to overcome which seeped into the entire program.

The first three-time team captain since the 19th century.

Was there really any chance anyone else would receive this year’s Buffalo Heart Award?

Don’t get me wrong. Liufau had plenty of help in this endeavor. There were coaches who made the players better, and there was an accumulation of talent on the roster who pushed the team to a ten-victory season.

Players make plays. Players win games.

But Liufau was the front man.

“That man right there, he’s going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Colorado,” running back Phillip Lindsay said after the game. “Everybody knows that and you guys should know that.”

Coach Mike MacIntyre said this off-season that the rest of the team had finally caught up with Sefo, that the Buffs were now talented enough to take advantage of the talent Liufau brought to the table.

“Sefo helped us get to a 10-win season, this year,” MacIntyre said. “He battled. He was our warrior all the way. Helped turn the program around. This year, we were a good team. If he had that team around him for four years, think about how good he would have been. He would have broken every record. Proud of his leadership, what he’s done. He set a great example, the way he leads, how he handles and carries himself. He’s an amazing young man.”

He was right there, not more than 20 feet away.

And yet, I hesitated.

Liufau was walking with a limp. He had been injured during the second quarter of the Alamo Bowl, suffering an injury to the same ankle which he hurt during the Michigan game.

“I don’t know how much the guy weighed, but when he landed on it, it’s not comfortable,” Liufau said. “Even if you don’t injure your ankle in the first place, I think it’s still going to hurt if a larger fellow lands on it”.

Liufau was replaced by Steven Montez, but, when Montez was ineffective, Liufau returned to play in his final collegiate game. The results were not the Hollywood script Liufau and the Buff Nation would have preferred, with the Buffs struggling on offense throughout the game, ending the season on a two game losing streak.

Now, here was Sefo, sitting in the waiting area of the San Antonio airport.

Just another passenger waiting to get on a plane.

Just another college student, looking to get home (in his case, to Tacoma) to spend some time with friends and family before returning to school for classes in January.

I decided to leave him be. His college career was over. He deserved some peace.

I texted Brad, who had taken off on the long drive back to Denver a few hours earlier, telling him I had seen Sefo at the airport, but that I had left him alone.

Brad texted back that he might not have been as restrained, texting that he and Mike, who was driving with him back to Colorado, “might have gone fan boy” on Liufau.

Looking back now, a few days later, I have a little regret in not going up and saying “thank you” to Sefo.

He deserved it.

“I’m pretty composed now,” said Liufau as he walked off the field in a Buff uniform for the last time. “Which is kind of surprising because I didn’t think I would, but I think I left it all out on the field.

“I just want everyone to know I gave everything. I may not have been the most talented, but I gave everything I had.”

We know, Sefo. We know.

And thank you.

 

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14 Replies to “Thanks, Sefo”

  1. Sefo your the true Buff . I would take you for my QB any day .good luck in the future and if you wish to play on Sundays I will support u from the sideline good luck and thanks for your help in bringing the Buffs back up to a great spot in collage football

  2. Sefo, thanks for being a true warrior and helping turn our Buff team around and help the program regain respect.

    You will always be regarded as being one of the All-Time Great Buffs. Good luck going forward.

    If the goals are not established, think about trying to become a grad assistant. You would be able to continue being a great leader which I am confident you will be in any endeavor.

  3. Sefo, I am sorry I misjudged your talent the first three years of your career. I didn’t think you knew how to finish a game or throw to your left. But I write this note to say I am happy I was wrong. You were/are an amazing quarterback/athlete and a true warrior. Thanks for what you did for our Buffs and good luck to you , young man, in whatever path you chose after college.

  4. I will admit I was not always a Sefo guy. Even though Lindgren consistently and constantly failed (miserably, seriously how does he STILL have a job) to utilize his talent and athleticism there were games, and even an entire season, where he was not MY quarterback. I may not have always liked him but I do RESPECT him and what he has given to and meant to the program.

  5. Sefo started, finished, and got blown out his last two games. He finished how he started. He was as bad the last two games and he was his first two, four years ago.

    1. Good thing he calls his own plays, blocks his own defenders, and runs his own routes. Anyone who has played the game knows that the last two games were lost in the trenches. There isn’t a QB out there that could have overcome the onslaught that Sefo faced against both teams.

    2. What a crappy, classless comment. Honestly, its boo-bird BS like this that got old in Folsom 15 years ago. So, unless you’re about to strap on a helmet and hit the walk-on try outs, stow it sailor.

      Also, I mean this with as much respect as I can muster; why do you read sites like this? Why do you support CU (if you do)? I mean, from your demeanor, it seems like all you have to contribute is bile. I get being disappointed. What I don’t get is shoveling crap on someone, kicking them when they’re down. Especially from the anonymity of an online post. What a sad, sad way to support something you care about. Unless you’re just trolling. In which case, congrats I guess?

  6. Thank you Sefo. For 4 years of leadership. 4 years of pushing as hard as you can. The Rise started with you. The culture you helped create, the work you put in. I wish you the best of luck as you move on to the next phase of your life but you should not need a whole lot of it as the character you showed over the last 4 years proves you are amply ready.

    Thank you.

  7. Thanks Sefo for continual leadership and toughness (toughest CU QB I can remember). Stuart, I always appreciate your website. The commentary is balanced, informative, and I enjoy the dialog on the board. I participated (for a short time) in others which had flame wars and trolls. Happy New Year to all!

  8. Sefo. Defined the last 4 years. The Rise was real and Sefo defined it. Against all odds. Grit. Fight. Spirit. Sefo will be a great Buff For Life..

    Uh Oh there goes Sefo of the Mighty Buffalo

  9. Thanks Sefo for 4 years of heart and sweat. And thanks Stuart for another great year of writing. This website has been a great source of therapy during the suffering years, and for celebration in the good year (not plural).

  10. Yo Stuart,

    Like Sefo, you are a class act. Liufau is a warrior and he’s hurting with the last couple of losses. He knows that this bowl game was likely the last real football game he will play in. He’s both hurt and hurting. It was time for him to focus on seeing his family. We’ll always have the memories of the toughest guy in the country leading the Buffs back to the Top 10.

    I’m hoping that, if available, MacIntyre offers Sefo a graduate assistant position. What better role model could the guys have than Liufau?

    Mark
    Boulderdevil

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