Tigers Put On the Pads Preparing for Alabama

News, notes and quotes from the Tigers are featured as Auburn continues preparations for the Iron Bowl.

Auburn, Ala.--Junior running back Tre Mason said Tuesday the Tigers are focused on performing much better offensively than they did in last year's edition of the Auburn-Alabama football game.

Mason personally managed to gain 82 of his team's 92 net rushing yards to reach the 1,000-mark for the season, but that was about the only positive on a dismal day for the Tigers in Tuscaloosa.

Auburn finished the game with 163 total yards and just seven first downs, totals they have eclipsed in single quarters of games this year under the totally revamped coaching staff led by Gus Malzahn.

Asked about what he remembered from last year's game vs. the Tide, Mason said, "Not too much execution going on on our side of the ball. That is what we are going to change this game. We are going to execute our offense.

"We feel confident in what we do," added Mason, who is leading the Tigers in rushing yardage with 1,153 while scoring 18 touchdowns with 17 of those coming on running plays.

The Tigers worked on execution and the game plan during Tuesday evening in a full pads session. Malzahn and his staff took advantage of their indoor facility on a rainy evening with temperatures in the mid 40s.

With classes not in session this week the team had meetings in the morning, lunch at the football complex followed by more meetings prior to practice.

After finishing 0-8 in the SEC last year the Tigers are 6-1 in the league going into Saturday's regular season finale. If the 10-1 Tigers defeat 11-0 Alabama they will be heading to Atlanta the following week to play in the SEC Championship Game.

"As Coach Malzahn says, we started in the outhouse and now we're headed to the penthouse," Mason said of his team, which has posted the biggest season-to-season improvement for victories in Auburn history. "We are just looking to get better and looking to execute what we have to do and come out with a win," Mason said.

Tre Mason

The running back pointed out the Tigers are following the plan given to them when Malzahn took over the program last December after spending one season as head coach at Arkansas State after working as Auburn's offensive coordinator from 2009-2011.

"Coach Malzahn came in and one of his first sentences was, ‘We are going to have the biggest turnaround in college football.' Most the guys that are here right now were recruited to play in this offense or a defense like this so we were just excited that they were back and ready to roll."

The Tigers are scheduled to practice again on Wednesday and Thursday then will have a walk-through on Friday before heading out of town to get away from the pre-game atmosphere. Following the Thursday session players who live near Auburn can go home to have Thanksgiving dinner with their families. Players who aren't going home will celebrate the holiday with the families of the coaching staff.

One of the keys to success for the Tigers will be to get pressure on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. Auburn's top pass rusher, senior end Dee Ford, is second in the SEC in sacks with 0.9 per game.

"It's definitely important," Ford said of pressure McCarron. "You change the game when you get to the quarterback. That was the key last game (vs. Georgia). We had them on their heels, and they became very predictable.

"Our offense was able to put points up pretty early," Ford said. "We got three-and-outs. That's definitely what you want to do--to have to make them throw the ball to get back in the game. That is definitely what we have got to do against A.J. McCarron. He hasn't been hit all year so we want to see what he can do after being hit a few times."

The defensive end said the Auburn defense is going to try to set the tone for how they want to play early in the game. "It is very important," he said. "That is what happened last week and I think we saw the results of starting early. We're definitely going to try do that coming into Saturday's game."

In other news and notes:

*Auburn officials are warning fans to contact the AU Ticket Office if they have concerns that they may have purchased counterfeit tickets to the Iron game. A large number of fans were turned away from the home game vs. Georgia due to having bogus tickets.

Fans at the game site on Saturday can stop by the ticket office at Auburn Arena beginning at 10 a.m. to have their tickets checked. Also, prior to the game checks will be done at the ticket booths on the east and west sides of the stadium.

*Saturday's game will kick off shortly after 2:30 p.m. CDT and will be televised nationally on CBS. Prior to the game ESPN's Gameday show will originate from the Auburn campus on a set located outside the east stands at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It will be the eighth time the Gameday show has originated on the AU campus.

*Radio coverage is available on Sirius and XM?channels 91 and the game will also be telecast on the Sports Radio USA Network.

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