SAN ANTONIO, Texas – When Colorado senior quarterback Sefo Liufau starts the game and is completely healthy the Buffaloes are 10-0, and when Liufau has an injury and doesn't play every critical offensive snap then the Buffs are 0-3. Those three losses were the Michigan game on the road where Colorado led when Liufau left the game with an ankle injury, against USC when he missed most of the game, and finally, in the Pac-12 Championship loss to Washington when it was the ankle again.
Liufau is not a gimpy guy, maybe a gimpy ankle, but the senior from Tacoma, Washington is tough, Army tough. He is also mature and was mature as a freshman which is why the Buffs went ahead and threw him into the fray as a freshman against Arizona State.
"Yeah, you know, he was kind of thrown into the fire there his freshman year, and I think it was maybe the fifth game against Arizona State, we were going to try to redshirt him as long as we could in that year, and our starter was struggling in that game, and we said, you know what, we’re going to throw him in there, and it was Todd Graham was bringing blitzes from everywhere in that game, and we were struggling up front, and he went in there and first drive led us down for a touchdown against those guys, which was pretty impressive," explained co-offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Brian Lindgren.
"Very excited about the way that he’s developed," continued Lindgren. "It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch it and be involved with him. He’s just an impressive person, and he’s faced a lot of adversity in his time at Colorado from injuries that he had to overcome this past off-season to just kind of the ups and downs and kind of going through building a program.
"We were very young when we started out with a lot of these seniors and guys that have been here, and they’ve taken a lot of lumps, and he took a lot of heat as a quarterback during those tough times, and just to see him and how he handled it and to stick with the process and keep working hard, it’s been a real pleasure to see him kind of break through this year and get us to where we’re at today."
The toughness that Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy noticed in Liefau and has complimented him on started, according to Liufau, as a kid doing Army training with his dad's unit.
"I think I got my toughness from my dad and him being in the military, and I think starting in third grade I went and I was with the unit all the time doing PT, which is just working out in the morning," Liufau said. "I was never allowed to complain really or say anything, so it helped me really mature very quickly, and to be able to get a compliment like that from the opposing coach is just an honor.
"It’s just a blessing to be able to receive that honor, and yeah, we’ll just try and display that toughness again when we play Oklahoma State," said the quarterback who has led CU back to a bowl after nine years and has accounted for 18 touchdowns and over 2,600 yards of total offense.