Colorado starting quarterback Sefo Liufau is ready for this upcoming season, plain and simple. After setting or tying 57 school records as a sophomore, Liufau is ready to lead Buffs out of the cellar of the Pac-12.
In 2014, Liufau threw for 3,200 yards, 28 touchdowns and boasted a 65.3 completion percentage. In other words, he put up some very impressive numbers for a team that won only two games. But Liufau’s 15 interceptions led the Pac-12.
Liufau knows more than anyone the cost of his mistakes. Colorado lost four games by five or less points last season, and the interceptions Liufau threw seemed to come at the worst possible times. The blame for a 10-loss season does not fall solely on his shoulders, but his turnovers were certainly a contributing factor, and Liufau seems to be aware of that.
But what’s done is done. The focus is on 2015. All eyes are geared toward September 3, when the Buffaloes will travel to take on the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors in their first game of the season.
Liufau is convinced that this season will be a turnaround year for the Colorado football program.
“I think we’re more mature,” Liufau said. “We have a lot of players that have played a lot of snaps. There’s great leadership on this team from the seniors and some juniors, and so I think overall there’s more cohesion, as well.
“We’ll be able to be better in the situations that we were in last year, especially in those close games that could have gone either way,” he said.
Liufau said that he sees the Buffs in a bowl game this year.
“I don’t think anyone else does, which is okay,” he said. “I just believe that if we keep improving and we’re able to be consistent throughout games, then we could definitely be in a bowl game.”
It’s arguable that the Buffs have the means to get to a bowl this year. All signs point to a stronger defense. Senior defensive back Jered Bell believes his side of the ball improved significantly over the offseason.
“We’ll definitely be a lot stronger, because I’ll bring up the turnovers we had last year,” Bell said. “And with (junior defensive backs) Chidobe (Awuzie) and Tedric (Thompson) coming back, I feel like the secondary is the strongest aspect of the team on the field this year.”
Offensively, Liufau will have another season to work with senior receiver Nelson Spruce. Last year, Liufau connected with Spruce 11.3 times a game. Expect similar results in 2015.
“(Spruce) is not the fastest by any stretch, but I don’t know if anyone else on the team is a better route runner right now,” Liufau said. “He beat a lot of one-on-one coverages last year. He beat a lot of zone coverages last year, and that is just an attribute to his work. He’s not the loudest person on the field, but he leads by example. He makes one-handed catches look easy. Just a great receiver.”
So what’s the goal for this season?
The confidence level is there. The Buffs are more experienced, better conditioned and are ready to show the Pac-12 the new identity of Colorado football.
Contact CU Independent Football Beat Writer Justin Guerriero at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo. Assistant Sports Editor Alissa Noe contributed to this report.