There are thousands of Colorado football fans who believe they already know who their starting quarterback will be when the 2014 season kicks off in six months.

There is one man wearing black and gold on the practice fields this spring believing he has a chance to surprise them.

Sophomore Jordan Gehrke spent his first season in the program last fall No. 3 on the depth chart behind Sefo Liufua and Connor Wood. Liufua took over the starting job at midseason after Wood's hot start faded into inconsistency.

Liufua threw for nearly 1,800 yards and led the Buffs to a pair of wins, including a Pac-12 Conference victory over California. After watching Liufau throw for 12 touchdowns and complete 60 percent of his passes as a true freshman while keeping the Buffs competitive in more games than they were in 2012, most believe Liufau has little standing in his way from at least beginning the 2014 season as the Buffs' starter. Wood's decision to quit football before his junior season only adds to that belief.

Gehrke believes he can push Liufau for the job.

"I think it's just executing, honestly," Gehrke said Friday after the Buffs' first practice of spring drills in the bubble on the lower practice fields. "At this level, everyone is talented. So it just comes down to who is more efficient. I just take it one play at a time and just win every play I guess."


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Coach Mike MacIntyre said he didn't sleep much Thursday night because he was excited about the first practice. He was rewarded with a good first practice by his quarterbacks, including newcomer Trent Sessions, who joined the team as a walk-on after serving as a member of the training staff last season.

"I think Sefo was throwing the ball today better than he did at any time last year," MacIntyre said.

Coaches like Gehrke's athletic ability, but he is several inches shorter than Liufau and is susceptible to passes being batted down on occasion. His ability to make plays on the run is an area where he clearly has an advantage over Liufau.

Coaches began telling Gehrke last August that if he ever wants to be able to maximize that ability on game days, he will have to take better care of the ball and carry it the proper way in a protected fashion when he does choose to run. He too often carried it one-handed, flailing at his side in August camp, which led to fumbles.

"All day today he's putting it away, he's protecting it," MacIntyre said. "All those types of things you can tell they're listening to what we're saying."

Gehrke admitted Friday he didn't come to CU last summer in the right frame of mind to truly compete for a job. He said he was "star struck" by some of his teammates and didn't play with the level of confidence needed to excel.

He passed for 2,388 yards and 22 touchdowns two years ago at Scottsdale Community College. He said he has no doubt he can play at this level after spending a season in the program.

"You've got to compete," he said. "Every single practice matters. I think when I came in, I was just star struck, not really knowing what to expect. I got that out of the way and I've got three more years left and I'm going to compete every single down."

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/kyleringo.