After every game this season, Auburn fans have been left with questions. One of the most common questions has been "Why isn't Tre Mason getting more carries?" Apparently, Mason would like to know the answer to that one, too:
"I still don't understand," Mason said. "I want the ball. I want to get the ball in the fourth quarter, toward the end of the game. I feel like I can do something with it, change the outcome of the game."
Mason and head coach Gene Chizik have both said the sophomore running back needs to be carrying the ball 20 times per game, but for whatever reason, that isn't happening. With Auburn's offense struggling so much, it leaves fans -- and Mason -- scratching their heads when the Tigers' best offensive threat is underused. Mason is plenty confident in his abilities:
"I'm 100 percent sure I could do that. I felt really good - I think it was the ULM game I got 22 carries. I could run all day. With my heart and my passion? I'm just ready to do this."
Mason has the numbers to back it up, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. And that quote sounds like a guy with plenty of desire. When a team is slogging through its worst season in 62 years, desire is hard to come by. One might think it would be a good idea to give more touches to a guy that is so eager. According to Chizik, different situations have caused Mason's carries to be limited:
"As I've said several times, you've got an idea going into games what you'd like to do," Chizik said. "And depending on defensive fronts and defensive blitzes and things of that nature - how the game unfolds - it doesn't always necessarily translate into that. And it could work the opposite. You could have this plan and see something defensively, and they end up getting more.
"It really depends on how the game flows."
How the game flows? Kids may read this blog, so it's inappropriate to publish the initial reaction to that quote. HOW THE GAME FLOWS? So far this season, Auburn has averaged 276.7 yards per game and has a team quarterback rating of 108.5. Both of those numbers are easily the worst in the SEC. Auburn's offense -- and specifically, its passing game -- sucks; that's how the game flows. Allowing the opposing defense to dictate what Auburn's offense is going to do, especially when that means taking away touches from the best player, is pretty much giving up. The inability to adapt the gameplan and find a way to get Mason more carries out of different looks is inexcusable.
Auburn plays Texas A&M Saturday, and it's a good bet that fans and Mason will be once again disappointed with the running back's number of rushes. If Chizik and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler want to keep their jobs, they may want to find a way to make some adjustments.
At this point, there's only one thing to say: #FreeTreMason