The Buffaloes quarterback situation has been unsettled the last few years, to say the least. Just to put it in perspective, Colorado football hasn’t had a concrete starter at quarterback since Tyler Hansen back in 2011. That speaks volumes about the overwhelming lack of production at the signal caller position in recent seasons.
In the past three seasons, the Buffaloes have seen five different quarterbacks hit the field. These five have included the likes of Tyler Hansen, Nick Hirschman, Jordan Webb, Connor Wood, and Sefo Liufau. Although, not all of this unrest should be blamed on those under center, as much of the reshuffling in the depth chart was directly related to the team’s struggles as a whole.
However, last season, a true freshman came under center and led the Buffaloes to their most impressive season since joining the Pac-12 back in 2011. The Buffaloes are hoping that a new era is about to dawn in Boulder in 2014.
Second year starter Sefo Liufau (6-foot-4, 225-pounds) has shown flashes of his ability to lead the team, while also being smart with the football. He finished the 2013 season with 1,779 yards passing, a 59.4 completion percentage, and 12 touchdowns to 8 interceptions in only 8 games played. It was also the first time since 2011 that a Colorado quarterback had thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in a season.
The combination of a new offensive coordinator/quarterback coach in Brian Lindgren, paired with Liufau at the helm, led the Buffaloes to some success in 2013. They’ll look to build on this success in 2014, as they will once again put their faith in Liufau.
So far this offseason, Colorado coaches have liked what they’ve seen in regards to Liufau’s progression. Following the spring practices, head coach Mike MacIntyre commented on Liufau, saying he has added more zip to his throws and he is getting better throwing with strength off of his back foot. His innate athletic ability and high football IQ should help guide him as he continues to improve.
Even though Liufau is the clear-cut starter in Colorado, the Buffaloes have added some depth at the position with 2014 recruit Cade Apsay (6-foot-2, 176-pounds). Apsay, an impressive California high school star, should push Liufau to continue improving if he wants to hold onto the starting job. It’s not so much a controversy, as much as it is a competition.
Apsay put up numbers out of this world in high school, as he threw for 3,333 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior. His accuracy is on pace with Liufau’s, as he also notched a 59.5 completion percentage. Not only can he throw the ball, but he can tuck it and run as well. He rushed for 341 yards on the ground and an unbelievable 15 touchdowns (that’s right, 15). He was his high school’s divisional MVP and was selected to the second team all-state. The three-star recruit should get plenty of consideration for the starting job during his tenure in Boulder.
Check out Apsay’s high school highlights:
Both Liufau and Apsay have shown the versatility that division I quarterbacks must have. Apsay’s ability to look off defenders and throw the deep ball with extreme accuracy is one of his specialties. Liufau’s ability to escape pressure and make something out of nothing is like no other. Both show quickness and speed, attributes that are sure to help them in a speed style conference like the Pac-12.
If Liufau can stay healthy and continue impressing coaches, look for him to lead the Buffaloes under center this season, with Apsay competing against junior college transfer Jordan Gehrke for second team reps.
Projected 2014 QB Depth Chart:
1- Sefo Liufau (6-foot-4, 225-pounds) Soph.
2- Cade Apsay (6-foot-2, 176-pounds) Freshman
3- Jordan Gehrke (6-foot-3, 185-pounds) Soph.
The Buffaloes are hoping that a healthy quarterback competition in camp can bring out the best in both of these players. Only time will tell whether or not Liufau can hold the starting job with Apsay nipping at his heels.