By Parker Baruh (Special to CUBuffs.com)
BOULDER—The University of Colorado named its captains for the 2014 season prior to its spring game on Saturday, including three players each on offense and defense.
And for the first time in program history, it includes a sophomore – and not just one, but two.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre informed the team prior to CU’s spring game Saturday of the players that were selected as the captains at a team meeting Friday night. Teammates voted and picked three seniors: offensive tackle Daniel Munyer, defensive tackle Juda Parker and safety Terrel Smith while junior wide receiver Nelson Spruce and sophomores Addison Gillam (linebacker) and Sefo Liufau (quarterback) rounded out the rest of the choices.
MacIntyre said he’s never been in a program where two sophomores have been named captains adding, “It was pretty impressive for their leadership as sophomores.”
“They just finished their freshmen years, so that’s pretty amazing… [they] know what we’re looking for in captains… we go over it, we give them examples,” he said. “It’s not just, ‘hey these guys should be captains.’ This is something we worked on and laid out there as to what we’re looking for as a captain.”
Liufau, who passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s game for the Gold team in a 21-17 defeat, talked after the game about how “it’s a great honor” to be named captain as a sophomore.
“It means a lot and it’s a great honor for me to be named a captain,” he said. “But now I have to display [leadership] even more and be more vocal out there so that we can get better as a team.”
Gillam, the second sophomore captain, led CU last year with 119 tackles and had seven on Saturday. He repeatedly mentioned how “awesome” it was to be voted as captain.
“It’s awesome… and it’s great to know the team looks up to me and believes in me,” Gillam said. “They know I’ll do the right things on and off the field, so it’s just an awesome feeling.”
Senior leadership, however, will be just as important. As Parker, Munyer and Smith all enter their final seasons at CU, they will attempt to lead this team back to a postseason bowl for the first time since 2007.
Coincidentally, 2007 was the only other time dating back at least four decades that CU’s captains were chosen ahead of the season in the spring.
As captain, Parker is “humbled” and wants to influence the younger players that selected him as one of the six captains.
“When the team votes you as captain, it’s very humbling, because you know they feel that they’ll listen to me and see leadership qualities,” Parker said. “I want to help all the young guys so when I leave, we’re that championship team that you always hear and see about on TV.”
But more importantly, Parker won’t be satisfied if the end of the season doesn’t result in a postseason appearance.
“One of my goals has always been to help CU get to a bowl game. We’ve been talking about that since I was a freshman here and I see a lot of potential in our guys,” Parker said.