Sefo Liufau has the size, athleticism and the arm to be a good Pac-12 quarterback.

Based off his performance as a true freshman in 2013, he's also got the maturity and confidence to succeed in this conference.

What we don't know is whether the Colorado quarterback has the team around him to be successful.

On Saturday, the Buffaloes completed their annual spring game. Liufau's Gold squad lost to the Black squad, 21-17, but he was solid throughout the day, completing 19 of 31 passes for 238 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

As a whole, the Buffs seem to be a better team than they were a year ago at this time. Physically, they look better prepared to compete against their conference foes. They appear to have a nice array of weapons on offense and a decent collection of talent on defense.

Then again, the Buffs were facing the Buffs on Saturday, so it's difficult to get a true gauge of how good this team really is right now.

We know Liufau can play. But, when the Buffs begin for real, against the Rams, Minutemen, Sun Devils, etc., they won't depend as much on Liufau as they will the young men around him.

Most notably, the Buffs need better play in the trenches.

CU's offensive line made improvements from 2012 to 2013, but got pushed around too much against good competition. Senior guard Daniel Munyer said he believes the group will be better this season.

"We have some young guys out there working with the (starters) and they don't have a lot of game experience," Munyer said. "There's only so much you can practice. Once we get those live game reps, we're going to see improvement. I know that.


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"If you look at our film from the first day of practice to the 12th or 13th practice, I think we've improved tremendously."

On the other side of the ball, the CU defensive line was whipped throughout the 2013 season. The Buffs generated just 18 quarterbacks and gave up 208.5 rushing yards per game. Pac-12 teams rushed for 244.4 yards per game against the Buffs.

Munyer said he's been impressed with the improvement he's seen from that group. Defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat agrees.

"I think they're improved because they've got a better understanding of what we want to try to accomplish," he said. "Now that we've been here a year, we know the best positions for our certain players and that's going to help us in the long run."

Getting better play out of both lines is critical for CU to improve upon last year's 4-8 record.

"No question," Jeffcoat said. "In this conference, you've got to have competitive offensive and defensive lines for us to be successful. I think we're headed in that direction. I know we are, actually."

If the Buffs are headed in that direction, that should bode well for the running game, which hasn't been consistently productive since at least 2007.

There are signs that the Buffs are on the verge of busting loose on the ground. Junior Christian Powell, sophomore Michael Adkins II and redshirt freshman Phillip Lindsay have shown the ability to shine this spring, while senior Tony Jones can be an asset, too.

"Wait until August and you'll see," Liufau said about the run game. "When we play Colorado State (on Aug. 29), we're going to come out firing — the run game is going to be clicking, everything is going to be clicking."

The pressure not all on Liufau's teammates, of course.

Liufau is not a polished quarterback, and he's got to get better, too. He proved that a couple of times on Saturday, when he ignored a wide open Sean Irwin on one play and then made a bad decision under pressure, tossing an interception on an intended throw-away pass.

For the sophomore to take the next step, however, he needs his teammates to lead the way.

"Yeah, I think so," he said. "I think everyone needs to step up; that's the line, the backup guys, the twos, the ones. Everyone has to step up if we want to win."

This spring, the Buffs showed signs of doing that. We won't know until the fall, however, if they have the complete team to get to the next level.

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.