October 21, 2012

NOTEBOOK: Mason ready to take command

AUBURN -- Tre Smith isn't waiting for someone else to stand up and lead.

He's asserting himself.

The sophomore tailback on Sunday said he's doing what he can to keep Auburn's locker room positive after a 1-6 start. It's one thing for an older player to say something, but Mason may resonate more widely considering he leads the team in rushing.

"I was raised to be a leader; not a follower. That's something my dad and mom put to me," Mason said Sunday night. "When things go downhill, somebody has to step up to the plate. I look myself in the mirror and say: It could be me. Maybe I can turn people's mindset. I've tried to step in as a leader and get this thing going."

Mason has reason to be negative, too.

Despite being one of the Southeastern Conference's most efficient backs - he's averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season - yet the Tigers don't seem interested in maximizing Mason's potential. He's earned more than 20 carries in a game only once this season, against Louisiana-Monroe, though he enters each game expecting to carry the load.

He wants to do that.

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