Auburn, Ala.—With the LSU game now behind them, the Auburn Tigers have had a few days to look back and see the mistakes that were made in the 12-10 loss. Many of those came on offense and special teams as the defense played well against one of the top offensive teams in the country. Scoring just 10 points and struggling to move the ball at times, sophomore running back Tre Mason said they’ve got to get better in a hurry and it starts with him.
"It was pretty frustrating, because I felt like that game would have turned around our whole season,” Mason said. “I feel like, you know, I'm going to step up as a team leader. I feel like I should take the blame for that. I should have found a way to get out of the end zone on that safety. I should have found any way possible, but you know, it is what it is and we'll only get better from here on."
Even though he put the blame on itself it’s hard to find much fault with the way Mason played last Saturday night. Facing one of the top rushing defenses in the country, entering the game allowing just 47 yards per game on the ground, Mason carried the ball nine times for 54 yards and was Auburn’s only consistent offensive threat. Admitting he would like to get the ball more, Mason said the coaching staff knows best and he’ll continue to do what they ask of him.
"I wasn't frustrated, you know, the coaches have a plan,” Mason said. “You can't argue with their plan, because that's what they get paid to do. Of course, who wouldn't like more carries. Whenever i have my opportunity I try to do the most with it."
Something that will bear watching when Auburn takes on Arkansas on Oct. 6 at Jordan-Hare Stadium will be not only the emotion and atmosphere of the fans for the 11 a.m. kickoff, but also how the team responds. Fired up to face LSU, Mason said that’s something that needs to continue for this Auburn team to get where it wants to go.
"I feel like it's in our emotion, an improvement in our passion,” Mason said of the biggest difference in the team last week. “A lot of people played with a lot of emotion and a lot of edge. I feel like that's where we improved the most.
“It’s very important,” he added of the next week. “That could take us a long way. It could even take us into next year, because we know what it feels like to actually play with that passion and that emotion."
While the rest of the team can be fired up and emotional, it’s the job of the quarterback to control that in the huddle and on the field. Watching Kiehl Frazier from week one through the week four loss to LSU, Mason said he’s seen his fellow sophomore take some big steps forward this season in that regard.
"He played to the level we expected him to,” Mason said. “A lot of people weren't here for us, they thought he wasn't going to do too well. But he kept control, kept his poise and character, and handled the situation very well at times."
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