He was a regular at football press conferences, and was even better in the one-on-one interviews, especially later in his career as I got to know him better.
On Friday, I had a chance to sit down with the Buffs' former quarterback and talk about his recent announcement that he's giving up football and pursuing his degree. You can read that story here.
As is often the case with the good interviews, though, there's a lot of great quotes that don't fit into the article I write for the paper. In my interview with Liufau, that included his thoughts on the 2017 football team and his successor, Steven Montez. So, here's a few leftovers from my interview with the Buffs' all-time leading passer.
Buffzone: What are you enjoying about being done with football?
Liufau: "There's always going to be parts of football that I miss. I miss college a lot more than the pros; it's a little bit different in terms of mindset and camaraderie. But, I enjoy freedom a lot more and I've been playing basketball a lot, which is another sport that I loved and played a lot growing up. Having more freedom is a real big thing for me."
Buffzone: Did you get to keep the jersey or helmet you wore with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last fall?
Liufau: "No, I don't think I was allowed to.
Buffzone: Which Colorado helmet would you want to keep? You wore four different versions.
Liufau: "Probably the gold one, the traditional."
Buffzone: There was a fun scene on HBO's "Hard Knocks" where you, as a rookie, had to get up and sing in front of the team. Did you get any grief over that?
Liufau: "(Laughs) Yeah, I went back and looked at it. All my family sent it to me, all my friends. Kids at the rec center are talking about it."
Buffzone: Now that you're back at CU and finishing your degree, has it been eye-opening for you to see the difference between being a student-athlete and a regular student?
Liufau: "It's very eye-opening. If a kid doesn't have to have a job and they just go to school, that's easy street to me. There's just so much free time to do whatever you want and enjoy life and have no cares and no stress. I think about getting up at 5:30 in the morning (to workout), finish (practice) at 11, usually come back for more meetings and more film and it's just like, 'How did you do school and how did you fit everything in?' There's a lot of stress that comes with it. There's a lot of times where guys were on the brink of being frustrated or upset."
Buffzone: Are you glad you don't have the pressure and stress of being the starting quarterback anymore?
Liufau: "I honestly don't like the attention. There's a lot of talk on Twitter and fans voice their opinion, which is fine. When I went to the USC game this year (as a fan), it was probably the most I've ever been upset with people. Everyone was getting upset with play calls. I was in the stands and I didn't sit in my assigned spot. I sat where I could see the signals and then I would watch the play, so I knew everything that was going on. People were getting so upset. I was ready to turn around and say, 'You guys don't know what's going on. You don't understand.' That's probably the most I've been upset with fans. When I was playing, I understand their frustrations and I understand I made a lot of mistakes. It comes with the territory. I'd take all the ridicule and everything, just so it takes it off the shoulders of my teammates, who I don't think could have handled it as well."
Buffzone: You went to a couple of CU games this year - against Washington State and USC. What did you think when you watched Steven Montez go through his first season as the starting quarterback?
Liufau: "I watched every game - the highs and lows. Saw it all. I think he did a pretty good job. Obviously there's things he can work on and there's things he did really well. The biggest thing - and I always said it when I was playing - is it's about being consistent. It's tough because the pieces around you for a play to work, you need 11 people to be doing the right thing every single time and it's not always going to be there. Being a quarterback, you're the one who touches the ball every single play, so you have the decision making in your hands. It can be tough at times, but I think for the most part he did pretty well and he just has to build on it. The most progress is made in the offseason. Once you get in the season, it's all about Xs and Os and how to dissect opponent X.
"Before I was injured my senior year against Michigan, that's why I was so successful and playing so well, because I didn't go home for three weeks before summer break. I stayed here and recovered from my foot injury. I was training with a quarterback coach. I was doing everything in my power to make sure we had a successful year as a team. I think if (Montez) wants to be successful that's what he has to do and he has to bring other people with him."
Buffzone: What are your thoughts on the current team, as they come off a 5-7 season and look forward?
Liufau: "I don't know if there's a whole lot of leadership in that team right now. There's a lot of new faces, I've heard; a lot of new JUCO kids; a lot of kids that I've heard through the grapevine that feel like they've accomplished something based off of what we did as seniors (in 2016). If that's the mentality they're going to have, they're not going to be successful, and that's kind of worrying to me. The biggest thing is leadership, and it can't be a coach. A coach can only do so much for a team. It has to be the players. (Safety Afolabi Laguda) from last year turned into a good leader, but if nobody else steps up this year, it's going to be really tough for them to be successful going forward.
"A quote from my dad: 'A great leader turns followers into leaders as well.' If people continue to lead and everyone just follows them, when the leader is gone, it's like, 'What do we do now?' Looking back on it, I guess I could have done a better job, too, in trying to create more leaders. It has to be a group thing, too. If the guys don't want to follow, or if the guys don't want to be great or be successful, it's not about just making plays on Saturdays or whatever day we're playing, because if they don't put in the work in the offseason, it doesn't just happen. If you put in the work then it'll happen."
Buffzone: Was it hard to watch the team slip to 5-7 after your group took them to the South title in 2016?
Liufau: "It was frustrating when you see that there were two or three games they should have won. They were playing down to their level in a sense and they made a lot of self-inflicting wounds and they could have gone to a bowl game this year. I was just frustrated for them."
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.