Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Buffs looking to Liufau for consistency
By Kevin Gemmell
Colorado fans can breathe easy, for now. After seeing five different starting quarterbacks over the last two seasons and six in the last three, it appears that sophomore Sefo Liufau is in good shape to keep his job -- at least through the first half of the spring session.
Not that there was a ton of concern for Liufau, who started the final seven games last season. And it doesn’t mean a whole lot in March. But for a program that has seen tumultuous turnover at the position of late, a little stability isn’t a bad thing.
Rising sophomore Sefo Liufau appears entrenched as Colorado's starting signal-caller.
Following Colorado’s first full scrimmage of the spring season last week, Buffaloes coach Mike MacIntyre said he has been pleased with his starter.
“Sefo hasn’t done anything to lose the job by any stretch,” MacIntyre said.
So, that’s a relief. After taking over the starting job last season, Liufau completed 59.4 percent of his throws with 12 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Not stellar numbers, but for a freshman jumping in halfway through the season, not terrible, either. His final three games (California, USC and at Utah), he showed some promise with seven touchdowns to three interceptions.
Over the last two seasons, Colorado’s potpourri of starters have combined for 32 passing touchdowns to 34 interceptions with a completion percentage of 56 percent. As a not-so-shocking result, Colorado has ranked at or near the bottom of the league in most offensive statistics.
Turnover probably has a lot to do with that. If the Buffs can stick with a quarterback, chances are those efficiency numbers will improve. The fact that Liufau has added about 10 pounds of muscle so far this offseason doesn’t hurt, either.
“Sefo has been very good,” MacIntyre said. “The first couple of days, I noticed a zip on the ball. He was stronger. I think he was completely healthy, his body was fresh. He’s throwing off his back foot better and rotating his hips better, so he has more zip on the ball. He’ll be more accurate. He was good before, but he’s gone out and done the things that Coach (Brian) Lindgren told him to do in the offseason on his own, and he’s improved in that area.”
While it appears for now that Liufau’s job is secure, MacIntyre noted that he’s been equally pleased with backup Jordan Gehrke.
“It’s exciting to see that Jordan is right there on his heels, not that much separation,” he said. “You better have a few guys who can play. Jordan has the ability to escape (the pass rush) and can make some plays and he’s getting a good grasp of the offense. When Connor (Wood) left, I felt like ‘Uh oh,’ and that opened the door for Jordan and he’s taken advantage of it.”
Liufau tossed four touchdowns in Friday’s scrimmage on 9-of-17 passing. He has yet to throw a pick in a scrimmage setting.
Liufau is certainly one of the most intriguing up-and-comers in the conference. And consistent, reliable quarterback play might be exactly what the Buffs need to push them one step closer to being bowl eligibile for the first time since 2007.