Sept. 26, 2013
Auburn's Tre Mason impressed his coaches on and off the field at LSU (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. – Tre Mason was putting up the stats. Rhett Lashlee liked that. But Auburn's offensive coordinator also liked the look in Mason's eyes.
Down 21-0 in the second quarter, Mason and Co. kept hammering away at LSU before falling 35-21 last Saturday in Baton Rouge. Now, with its off-week almost done, Lashlee is hoping that fight will continue when 3-1 Auburn begins game-week preparation Sunday for the Oct. 5 game against Ole Miss.
Mason rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns against LSU.
"He ran like he meant it," Lashlee said.
But running was only part of that night.
"I saw a different attitude with Tre at halftime," Lashlee said on Thursday's Tiger Talk radio show. "He took little more of a leadership role. He and some others were a big part of 'we're not quitting. We're going to go out and earn respect. We're going to win this ballgame.' I saw the same look in our guys as I saw against Mississippi State. We were getting frustrating. We had to go the two-minute drive. They never wavered, and Tre was a big part of that."
Mason, who rushed for 1,000 yards last season, has rushed for 344 yards and four touchdowns this year.
Lashlee didn't say it, but Auburn demonstrated more fortitude than in many of the games in the second half of last season. Lashlee said that was developed early this season.
"They developed confidence in the first three games. They had to win in different ways," Lashlee said.
When the loss to LSU was done, "they knew they let an opportunity to win the football game slip."
"But at the same time, they're starting to believe in themselves: 'Hey, if we play four quarters, we can not only play, we can beat anybody.' There's growing pains going on, but psychologically, I think we're in a good place with our team."
Quarterback Nick Marshall, who got off to a slow start against LSU, may have been a microcosm of the Tigers.
"You could tank it and quit. He didn't. He fought back in the second half just like I thought he would, as did our offense, as did our whole team," Lashlee said.
Charles Goldberg writes for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: