A list of quarterbacks for the 2016 Buffaloes (listed in projected depth chart order):
Sefo Liufau, Sr., 6-4, 240: Has thrown for 7,397 yards, 49 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in his career. He has made 30 starts and is just 13 yards away from breaking CU's all-time passing record. Will not play in spring ball because of a left foot injury.
Cade Apsay, So., 6-1, 195: Played well at times in relief of Liufau this past season, completing 59 of 92 passes for 582 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.
Steven Montez, R-Fr., 6-5, 220: Redshirted this past season, but impressed coaches and teammates while working on the scout team.
Jordan Gehrke, Sr., 6-1, 200: In two seasons as a Buff, he has completed 32 of 68 passes for 286 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Sam Noyer, T-Fr., 6-3, 205: Still in high school in Beaverton, Ore., Noyer is expected to sign his letter of intent on Feb. 3 and join the Buffs in the summer. If Liufau and others are healthy, he will likely redshirt.
T.J. Patterson, Jr., 6-3, 180: A walk-on transfer from Wyoming, Patterson has yet to play in a game, but gives the Buffs depth in practice.
Sheriron Jones, R-So., 6-3, 220: A transfer from Tennessee, Jones signed with CU last week. He has to sit out the 2016 season, but could be at the top of this list a year from now. The former four-star recruit is considered a talented dual-threat quarterback.
Brian Lindgren is always looking for quarterbacks who can make the Colorado football team better.
While the Buffaloes' co-offensive coordinator is eyeing players for the future, there's enough uncertainty about 2016 to make him uneasy.
"I'd feel a lot better about it if Sefo (Liufau) was 100 percent healthy," Lindgren said about the Buffs' current situation at quarterback. "I'd be really excited because you've got a four-year starter and I think he's done a lot of good things here and he's had a lot of experience. The uncertainty of his injury puts a wrinkle into it."
By far the most experienced passer on the roster, Liufau suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot on Nov. 13 against Southern Cal and will be sidelined at least until summer, if not longer.
A good number of CU fans cringe at the thought of Liufau continuing as the Buffs' starter, because his results have been up and down during his three-year career. While it's not all his fault, he's been the primary quarterback throughout CU's 10-27 record the past three years (Liufau is 8-22 as a starter).
Lindgren still believes that a healthy Liufau gives CU its best chance at success, and he's been encouraged by Liufau's progress to this point.
In 2014, Liufau set CU school records for passing yards (3,200) and touchdowns (28), but he threw 15 interceptions.
This past season, Liufau tossed just six interceptions and he was more of a running threat than ever before, but his production as a passer declined, as he tossed just nine touchdowns.
"When you look back at the season, we did a better job in my mind of taking care of the football, particularly I think when you look at Sefo," Lindgren said. "I think we've just got to find a way to be more explosive and create some more explosive plays.
"We have to find a way in the pass game to go get the ball downfield and find some guys. I thought we did that at times, but we've got to create some more."
Lindgren was asked if Liufau tried too hard to avoid mistakes, which may have hurt his ability to make more plays.
"I think, at times, it was probably in the back of his mind a little bit," Lindgren said.
If Liufau could get healthy and put the good from both seasons together, the Buffs could be in a good situation at quarterback.
As it stands, the Buffs face an offseason with several questions at the most important position on the field.
Redshirt sophomore Cade Apsay has thrown just 92 career passes but will be the most experienced quarterback available to the Buffs during the spring.
Apsay displayed good accuracy but threw too many interceptions (five), took too many sacks and is not the running threat that Liufau was this season.
Lindgren likes Apsay's potential, though.
"I thought Cade went in and, as a freshman, did some good things," Lindgren said. "And there's some things he still has to get better at and some things physically that we've talked about with him — being able to be more of a threat in the run game and develop his speed and quickness."
Lindgren said he likes how Liufau has developed an ability to get out of trouble and keep plays alive, and he'd like to see Apsay take that step, too.
"He'll continue to develop and having a spring without Sefo there, I'm excited about him," Lindgren said. "I think he's going to make even more strides. I'm optimistic about his future."
Some around the program say the most talented quarterback available for this year is redshirt freshman Steven Montez. He has good size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) and mobility, as well as a strong arm. He's never taken a snap in college, though.
"We're excited about him," Lindgren said. "I look for him to make big strides this spring. That jump you make from that redshirt year, we're excited about his development."
The Buffs also have senior Jordan Gehrke. In his limited time the past two years, Gehrke has never proven he is the answer as a starter, but he does know the CU offense and is a solid backup.
"He's a good guy to have as an option there," Lindgren said.
For now, however, the Buffs don't have a great option.
They are excited about newly signed Sheriron Jones, a dynamic player who transferred from Tennessee. Jones will be playing in the spring but he can't suit up for games until 2017. The Buffs are also trying to lure Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb. If Webb (5,557 passing yards and 46 TD at Tech), who could play right away, lands in Boulder, that would change the outlook completely.
For now, the Buffs are relying on a hobbled veteran and some inexperienced youngsters.
"I think we have some talented guys, they're just a little bit unproven right now," Lindgren said. "That makes you a little bit nervous. At the same time, I'm glad we have the time we do right now before the season starts to keep developing those guys."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.