Colorado Buffaloes' sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau is the tenth field general to take up what has been a seemingly impossible task since 2006. He's expected to take snaps and lead the Buffs into relevancy. Take an offense that has ranked within the top 80 offenses in the country one time since 2008; and while you're at it, put up enough points to compete in the fast paced Pac-12.
Finally, make sure the points are produced to make up for a defense that has ranked near the bottom of the conference every year since becoming a member of the Pac-12 in 2011. That seems completely doable, right?
The QB position has been an endless abyss since Joel Klatt led the Buffs to a Big 12 North championship. In recent years, the Buffs' current conference home has been a factory for NFL level quarterbacks, including Andrew Luck, Nick Foles, Brock Osweiler and Jake Locker. If you don't have a good amount of speed, and a good quarterback, your program will struggle to win games in the Pac-12.
This has been an unfortunate reality for Colorado the last seven years. However, the Buffs have a man starting under center that could pull the program out of the bottom.
Sefo Liufau is the perfect player for Mike MacIntyre's Pistol offense. The offense appears confident with Lefo spreading the ball to a core of rotating receivers. The running game isn't where it needs to be, but with the arm of Lefo, the running game just needs to be able to pick up the short yardage on third down.
Through two games Liufau has thrown the ball 81 times with five touchdown passes, 559 yards and one INT. Only one turnover has resulted from the passing game, and it wasn't even due to a poor decision. Massachusetts' Randall Jette made an outstanding play in the Buffs' victory over UMass last Saturday.
Is Sefo Liufau going to compete with Marcus Mariota for the Heisman this season? Of course not, but we need to focus on the future. It's understandable and fair that Buff fans don't want to hear about the future, heck, they have been told to be patient for almost a decade, but the young pieces are in place for a team to gain bowl eligibility very soon. He may not be extraordinary, but Liufau can be consistent and reliable for now, with plenty of potential.
Liufau's 318 yards against UMass may not sound very impressive, but keep in mind not long ago Jordan Webb was only able to muster up 160 yards through the air in a losing effort to Sacramento State. Every Buff fan probably remembers Tyler Hansen and his 56% completion percentage in 2011. How about the nightmare in 2012 when Webb, Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood all took snaps in just about every game. To make matters worse, neither Webb, Wood or Hirschman were able to throw more TDs than INTs during that same year.
Coming into the 2014 season we weren't exactly sure what to expect from the receiving group; after two games it's still difficult to say until the Buffs play better competition, though it does seem clear both Nelson Spruce and Shay Fields have shown the ability to be deep threats for Liufau. The Buffs are up to par with the conference in the amount of pass plays that have gone for 40 or more yards, and actually sits at 4th in the Pac-12 with 21 passes for 10 or more yards.
The offense might not make a bunch of deep passing plays, but the system works great with short methodical passes. Will that be enough to keep up with other offenses within the conference? It depends on how the defense holds up this season.
It doesn't look particularly bright in 2014. However, Liufau is an important part to the Buffs' success moving forward. Yes, you are seeing success and the Buffaloes in the same sentence. So, cheer up fans!