Mason Ready to Rumble In Pasadena

Auburn running back Tre Mason talks about his team as the Tigers head into the national championship game.

Newport Beach, Calif.--As the Auburn Tigers look to complete what would be the biggest turnaround in college football history going from the worst team in the SEC in 2012 to the best team in the nation, All-SEC running back Tre Mason said that Gus Malzahn's leadership has been the catalyst for making it happen.

"It all starts from Coach Malzahn and his winning attitude," Mason said. "That was the biggest change that when he first came in was the attitude that we have. You guys have got to believe and you have got want to win."

After finishing 0-8 in the SEC last season and 3-9 overall, the Tigers take a 12-1 record into Monday's BCS National Championship Game vs. the unbeaten Florida State Seminoles. Kickoff is set for 7:20 p.m. CST (5:20 p.m. PST in Pasadena) at the Rose Bowl.

"I'm ready," said Mason, who rushed for a career-high 304 yards and four touchdowns in his last outing as the Tigers defeated Missouri 59-42. "We can get it cracking."

Mason played a large role in the Tigers advancing to the national title game by rushing for 1,621 yards and a school single-season record 22 touchdowns. The junior also scored on a kickoff return.

The running back said he is ready to do whatever it takes to win on Monday. Asked how many times he would like to carry the football, he said, "As much as we need to do to get the win. Sixty times if we need it--stamina isn't a problem for me."

The running back said that strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell has the entire team in excellent shape. "Offseason training with Coach Russell, he got us right," Mason said. "He got us in the best shape I've ever been in my life and it's a mindset. When I'm in the game I'm not going to let stamina stop me."

Florida State, the 13-0 champions of the ACC, have yet to play a close game this season thanks to a strong offense combined with a strong defense. Mason said he is impressed with what he has seen of the Seminoles. "They are a talented defense and they are very fast," the running back said.

Tre Mason is shown at the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Mason pointed out he is going to be counting on fullback Jay Prosch and the offensive line to give him running room vs. the Seminoles. "Anything that gets in his way he's going to destroy," Mason said of Prosch. "Don't want to make him mad. I'm happy though I get to run behind the Hulk. He's the key to the offense.

"Our offensive line makes us click, but also I would say everyone blocking, doing their job," Mason said of a key to moving the football on Monday.

However the game plays out the junior running back said he wants to walk out the Rose Bowl with no regrets. "I don't want to leave anything on the field. I don't want to have to leave the game saying I shoulda, coulda, woulda, and that's why I give it my all, and I'm not a quitter. I'm going to play till the clock says zero, and if they give me extra time I'm gonna keep on going."

Mason wouldn't say if Monday's game will be his final one before entering the NFL Draft. "I'm on the fence with it. Of course, I have dreams of playing in the NFL, it would be a good idea. I would say it would be smart for me to prepare for the draft, but who knows? I still have got to talk with my mom and dad, make sure they're okay with things and who knows what the future holds."

The running back added that he is thoroughly enjoying the college experience. Commenting on his teammates, he said, "They're my brothers. I love the Auburn Family, my coaches, Coach Malzahn coming back. I love playing in his system. Those would be the deciding factors of staying and going."

Mason noted his team's turnaround has not surprised him and going into the season he figured the Tigers would have a strong team. "I just had a strong feeling on the inside because of how hard we worked in the off season," he said.

"Being 3 9, I don't think anybody wanted to feel that again so we were fueled by doubt all season long," he added. "We took it one day at a time, one practice at a time, a day at a time. We fought together and being fueled by doubt is the big thing that got us to this point. We realized we had a chance."

Asked how confident the Tigers are they can win their second national title in four seasons, Mason said, "We're very confident. You can't go into the game without being confident.

"We feel like we put the in a lot of work and we're ready to get the job done. Who knows what the end of the score will be but we are going give it all we got and God willing we come out with the win."

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