Jan. 3, 2014
Auburn's Tre Mason is ready to go again after the SEC title game (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — It has been a month since Tre Mason last played a football game. It's been a month since he had 46 carries, rushed for 304 yards and scored four touchdowns in the SEC Championship Game.
His body has welcomed the down time.
"I need a little bit of time off just to rest my body and back -- just restore my body. I was in a lot of pain after that game. Just the adrenaline took me through that game."
After that game, the SEC's leading rusher flew to New York as a Heisman finalist and returned to Auburn to begin practice for Monday's BCS Championship Game against Florida State in Pasadena.
He says he's recharged. And he says Auburn's offense shouldn't lose a step despite being off a month. That zone-read where either Mason gets the ball or quarterback Nick Marshall keeps it? Mason said Auburn can pick up where it left off.
"I feel it's a mindset," Mason said. "How bad do you want this win? How bad do you want to be successful? I feel like if we want it bad enough, we're going to find that rhythm, and we should be successful if we want it bad enough."
Mason said the running game has a special connection, and that part of it can be traced to his friendship with Marshall. Mason said he and his quarterback are "always together."
And that helps on the field when Marshall is deciding whether to keep the ball or hand off.
"He's like my brother," Mason said. We know each other's tendencies. Sometimes when he's not supposed to pull it, he pulls it because he feels he can get around the edge. It's just a great chemistry going on."
It's also a little confusing to the untrained eye.
"I went home and they also said that sometimes it takes them a minute to react 'where is the ball,'" Mason said.
The offense has run through Mason and Marshall. You know that. Every defense knows that. And still Auburn leads the nation in rushing.
Mason says he's done it by keeping his thoughts straight ahead.
"Just watching pros and taking tips from guys like Bo Jackson and Cam Newton. Those guys always told me to keep your eyes directed down the middle of the field. Most backs will look where they're going to go, and I refrain from doing that."
Instead, Tre Mason has made the right moves.
Video: Tre Mason, Jay Prosch and C.J. Uzomah with BCS talk...
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: