Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Cannon Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cannon_casey.
Sefo Liufau is a good quarterback. Did you cringe when you read that? You shouldn’t have.
I’ve heard too many people blaming Sefo Liufau for Colorado’s troubles, and even worse, too many people saying he is a shitty quarterback.
Now, I could list the 57+ school records he’s set or mention the fact that he’s thrown a touchdown in 27 of the 29 games that he has played in. I could go on and on about how Liufau is ranked 22nd in passing yards in Division I football and how he’s thrown for nine touchdowns and ran for another five this season, but all anyone is going to point to is the win-loss that the six-foot-four junior has had over his three seasons. He is 8-20 as a starter, and that’s all people see at the surface.
Beyond that, I see a tough quarterback that is coming into his own and capable of leading a team.
This season, Liufau has drastically improved his turnover problem that plagued him over the last couple of years. In nine games, the quarterback has thrown five interceptions. Now compare that to past years. Last year, Liufau threw 15 interceptions in 12 games. That’s three times as many as he’s thrown this year.
Do you think Colorado would have four wins with Jordan Gehrke or Cade Apsay starting? Chances are pretty high that the answer is no.
Now, if you compare him to other Pac-12 quarterbacks, he doesn’t match up. So what gives?
I think if you put Liufau in a Mike Leach system like the one at Washington State, or behind a great offensive line like the one at Stanford or with offensive weapons at receiver at places like UCLA and USC, he does just as well as any Pac-12 quarterback.
The problem is that he doesn’t have much to work with. These quarterbacks are in a system that maximizes their performance. It’s like someone cooking with a ton of ingredients being compared to someone cooking with limited ingredients. Liufau – with limited ingredients – can only do so much.
The thing is, he’s doing well with the limitations. Fans see the interception late in the game at UCLA, but they don’t see the numerous drives that Liufau lead, the 312 yards through the air or the 15 carries for 45 yards that helped convert multiple first downs.
Sefo Liufau is a good quarterback. He is limited by his system and by the team surrounding him. Look deeper and it’s easy to see. Look at the stats, and his improvement over the years. Look past those stats and at intangibles like toughness and leadership. He’s played through a separated shoulder and has taken countless hits this season, yet he still gets up the next day wanting to compete and lead the team.
People – fans and media alike – don’t say anything about Liufau being a bad quarterback when Colorado wins a game, but jump so quickly at the chance to roast him when it’s a Colorado loss.
So, don’t blame Liufau for CU’s woes. Try not to be so uninformed in your analysis. It’s the easy route to blame the quarterback for a team’s failure. Remember, it spans further than Liufau, so don’t limit your blame to just him.