By NEILL WOELK
BOULDER, CO. — It’s a new week but the same story, at least as far as the Colorado quarterback situation is concerned.
After both Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez took their share of snaps in Monday morning’s practice, head coach Mike MacIntyre said the Buffs will continue to monitor Liufau’s progress throughout the week before making a decision on a starter for Saturday’s Homecoming game against Arizona State at Folsom Field (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
“We’re going to work this week like we did the previous couple weeks,” MacIntyre said. “We’ll see how Sefo’s feeling and go from there.”
Liufau, a senior, suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of CU’s third game and missed the next two contests. He made a brief relief appearance in Saturday’s 21-17 loss at USC when Montez had the wind knocked out of him, but Montez returned and played the entire second half.
After the game, MacIntyre said Liufau was still not 100 percent in last week’s practices, so the decision was made to go with Montez — who led the Buffs to back-to-back wins over Oregon and Oregon State — for at least another week. The Buffs knew Liufau would be available in an emergency situation, which turned out to be the case, but they didn’t want to risk further injury to Liufau if at all possible.
Not that the Buffs have struggled with Montez at the helm. In his three starts, he’s completed 67 of his 99 pass attempts for 823 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions while the Buffs have gone 2-1 in those games.
Liufau, meanwhile, has gone 54-for-76 for 768 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in his three starts — in which the Buffs have also gone 2-1.
“We’re all going to do whatever’s best for the team, whether it’s to play Steven or it’s to play Sefo,” MacIntyre said. “They both are completely on board. I don’t see a selfish bone in either one of their bodies. That doesn’t mean that both of them don’t want to be out there playing every down, either, but they truly understand the team concept.”
Monday morning, Montez said he and Liufau are both preparing to be the starter — but added he’ll be fine with whatever decision the coaches make.
“You always have to plan to be the starter,” Montez said. “I think we’ve handled it really well, being good friends. As I always say, whoever Coach Mac puts in, they’re going to give us a really good chance to win. Whoever doesn’t end up starting is going to be behind the starter a hundred percent.”
ASU QUARTERBACK UPDATE: The Buffs aren’t the only team with quarterback injury issues. In fact, they’re in great shape compared to Arizona State.
Monday, ASU head coach Todd Graham announced that backup quarterback Brady White, who started in last week’s win over UCLA, is out for the season with a foot injury.
It means the Sun Devils are desperately hoping that starter Manny Wilkins, who started the first five games before suffering an ankle injury, will be ready in time for Saturday’s game.
Wilkins did not dress for the UCLA game, but according to the Arizona Republic, Graham said earlier this week, “I fully intend on Manny being back. Our plan is for him to practice by Thursday.”
PAC-12 SOUTH UP FOR GRABS: One-third of the way through the conference season, there’s certainly no favorite when it comes to the Pac-12 South.
Colorado, Arizona State and Utah — all at 2-1 in conference play — are tied for the division lead, with USC (2-2), UCLA (1-2) and Arizona (0-3) right behind.
“Everybody’s capable (in the Pac-12 South),” MacIntyre said. “It’s going to go down here in the next six weeks. I don’t have a crystal ball, but definitely anybody can win it. We want to win it and every other team in the South wants to win it. We’re excited about what’s in front of us.”
STANFORD GAME TIME SET: The Pac-12 announced on Monday that the Oct. 22 Colorado game at Stanford will begin at 1 p.m. Mountain time and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
(Neill Woelk has been one the most honored and respected sports journalists in Colorado and the West for the past 35 years. The 1982 graduate of the University of Colorado was a long-time columnist, then sports editor, of The Boulder Camera and later was an editor-writer for newspapers in Oregon and Utah. He returned to his alma mater recently as senior contributing editor for cubuffs.com. He has covered The Rocky MountainShowdown since its inception. @neilwoelk)