With Cade Apsay now at quarterback the Colorado offense is going to look different.
Not too different, however.
The redshirt freshman is slated to get his first career start on Saturday night when the Buffaloes (4-7, 1-6 Pac-12) visit No. 24 Washington State (7-3, 5-2).
Replacing three-year starter Sefo Liufau, who will be out six to eight months with a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, the Buffs will tweak their game plan to fit Apsay's talents.
"I don't see it changing too much," offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said. "We do what we do and there will be some things that I think are Cade's strengths and they'll get called for him. There were some things that Sefo was good at and we played off of some of his talents. I think the offense will remain pretty much similar."
There will be one big difference, as the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Apsay is not nearly as big as the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Liufau.
"We won't run (Apsay) as much inside," head coach Mike MacIntyre said.
Liufau's running ability became a major strength this season as he posted 264 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Liufau actually gained 414 yards on running plays but the 150 yards he lost in sacks are deducted from his total.
The Buffs won't completely eliminate quarterback runs with Apsay, but they likely won't be as frequent.
"We'd like to get that guy involved to keep the defense honest," Lindgren said. "We felt like (Liufau) could take some more of those hits. Cade's not quite as big, not quite as strong yet, so I don't know that we want him carrying it as much as we did with Sefo, but I still think we'll have some things he can do to keep the defensive ends and linebackers in there from just gearing up toward the run."
While Apsay may not run as much, the Buffs are excited to see the young quarterback use his arm. Playing the final three quarters in CU's 27-24 loss to Southern California last Friday, Apsay was 18-for-23 for 128 yards and two touchdowns, showing off some of his skills.
"I think he's one of the most accurate guys I've been around," Lindgren said. "He's really comfortable in the gun; he gets the ball and gets the ball out of his hand. He's really efficient with it and he throws a lot of completions. That's one of the things we're looking for."
The team was off Saturday and Sunday, but Apsay said that his teammates, especially Liufau, have been very supportive and encouraging as he enters the biggest week of his young college career.
"So far it's been positive," he said. "They're all behind me, they believe in me. Having them behind me is really helping me get ready for the weekend."
Apsay, who was suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules, said he feels ready because he began this season with a renewed commitment to the game.
"First day of fall camp I told myself I have a team I need to prepare for and they need me," he said. "Who I was as a player, as a person, at the beginning of fall camp and now is completely different."
Utah game time set
The Pac-12 announced on Monday that CU's Nov. 28 game at Utah will kick off at 12:30 p.m. and it will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
The game at Utah will be just the third day game for the Buffs in their nine conference games. They also had day games against UCLA and Stanford.
The Buffs and Utes will play in the regular-season finale for the fifth consecutive season. CU is 1-3 against Utah in those games but all four games have been decided by seven points or less.
MacIntyre said after Monday's practice that he has not decided on the Buffs' emergency third quarterback. He did say that walk-on T.J. Patterson, a graduate of Boulder High School, is not a candidate for that spot. ... CU is a 15-point underdog against the Cougars. The last time Washington State was a double-digit favorite in a conference game was in the 2012 Pac-12 opener, at home against CU. The Buffs won, 35-34.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.