With first-stringers Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb held out of action because the coaches know what they can do, it didn't take the 5-10, 190-pound freshman from Lake Worth, Fla., long to show what he can do. On the first play of the scrimmage he found a gap in the middle of the defense and raced the distance for a touchdown.
Before the midday scrimmage ended on a hot and humid Wednesday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Mason had run for three touchdowns and just missed scoring another one when he ran approximately 50 yards after catching a short pass.
Head coach Gene Chizik would not let the freshman running back do a post-scrimmage interview after his big scrimmage. However, the head coach did allow freshman quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who had a pair of athletic throws for touchdowns, to comment on his first college scrimmage.
"For my first scrimmage I thought I did okay," Frazier said. "There were some good plays I thought I could build on and some bad plays I definitely need to cut out."
The five-star recruit said he enjoyed his first chance to practice in Jordan-Hare Stadium. "Yes, I had fun," he said. "Football is always going to be fun to me. When you go out there in that huge stadium, you can just kind of feel the atmosphere out there."
Frazier said he saw potential from the guys on his side of the line of scrimmage. "I think we are really growing as an offense," he said. "We are trying to pace and go faster so we are getting there."
The former Shiloh Christian star said both the offense and defense were working to be physical in the first scrimmage. "You could tell the intensity picked up when we got on the playing field," Frazier said. "The defense was out there flying to the ball and the offense was trying to meet their intensity."
Commenting on the freshman quarterback, Frazier's position coach and offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, said, "He did okay. He had a good attitude. He is eager and that is half the battle. He is competitive."
Malzahn talks with Barrett Trotter (left), Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier (right) on Wednesday.
Looking at the big picture, Malzahn said, "A lot of our young guys got a chance to go out there and show what they could do the first time in the stadium with tackle football," he pointed. "We can learn a lot off the film from that situation."
Commenting on the quarterbacks, Malzahn said, "I thought they did some good things. There were a few things, obviously, we made some mistakes on, but as a whole I thought they did a solid job. They tried to do what they were coached to do and that is the main thing.
"We always talk about protecting the football and we did a solid job," the coach added. "It is just a matter of seeing them with live bullets at the stadium and that is good for coaches being able to evaluate to see where we were at."
Malzahn did say it is urgent the coaches get a good read on who is ready to contribute on opening day vs. Utah State. "We are in a time crunch now. We are getting down to three weeks before we play and we are going to have to identify those guys as quick as we can."
Defensive coordinator Ted Roof gave the scrimmage a mixed review. "There were a lot of really good things, and some things that were bad," he said. "The good news is the bad things, we can correct them and we got a lot of looks for a lot of people today, which was the goal going in."
Roof said the veterans and the newcomers all saw plenty of action in the practice that lasted 2 1/2 hours.
"I thought we got good pressure, at times," Roof said. "I thought we responded to negative plays at times. At times, we tackled very well, at times we didn't and missed some tackles. We gave up too many big plays."
Sophomore Cody Parkey kicks a field goal on Wednesday with Ryan White holding. Parkey has won praise from the coaching staff for his kicking this preseason.
The Tigers will be off on Thursday and return to the practice field on Friday for two sessions with the first starting at 10 a.m.
Fan Day is set for 2-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Auburn Arena. The gates open at 1:30 p.m. and admission is free.
Gene Chizik talks about Wednesday's scrimmage: