Posted: 10:16 am Monday, September 16th, 2013
By Jeff Greer
The following transcript is from Post reporter Jason Lieser’s conversation with Tre Mason, the former standout running back at Park Vista who is now a star at Auburn.
You can read Jason’s feature on Mason here.
Here’s the transcript from their conversation:
The Palm Beach Post: How much have you changed your running style since you came to Auburn?
Tre Mason: “I’ve put on maybe 30 pounds or so since I got here and I like running between the tackles. Some people said I was too small to do that, but putting on the extra weight helped me even more. And I maintained my speed.”
PBP: Did you actually keep your speed?
TM: “I feel like I’m faster because I’m more powerful. Running our times outside, I’m still at a 4.3. I’m trying to get to a 4.2. That’s gonna be hard. I feel like I can get a 4.29.
PBP: As a high school player, you felt you were under-recruited mainly because of your size. As far as the schools that passed on you, do you believe you’ve proven them wrong?
TM: “I proved my point. People underestimated me, doubted me, but God has a plan. To me, it’s not all about your frame; it’s about your mindset. My mindset is that the first man is not gonna tackle me. I’m not gonna let that happen. I love being a tough, hard runner.”
PBP: How much did playing in the SEC factor into your decision to sign with Auburn?
TM: “If you’re making plays here, it looks great to the NFL scouts. People can’t say you did it against weak teams. I’ve always liked to challenge myself. It’s known to be the hardest conference. I want to see how far I can go in it.”
PBP: You came here at a rough time with Auburn experiencing a quick decline after the 2010 national championship. How has that been?
TM: “I’m pushing for a championship. I’ve never had a championship in anything in my life. Going through last year, that’s possibly one of the worst seasons in college football. We’re trying to have the biggest turnaround in college football. We know what it feels like to have one of the worst seasons in college football and we don’t ever want to have that feeling again. It’s embarrassing having a 3-9 season. We’re trying to be great and turn this whole thing around.”
PBP: How have you dealt with the attention that comes your way at a place like Auburn?
TM: “People snap pictures while you’re walking and stuff, but I don’t let that get to me. My dad always preached to us to be humble. Character can take you a long way.”
PBP: How long did it take for your teammates to realize who your dad is?
TM: “It took them a while. I don’t really brag about that. They’re like, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ I’m not the type of person to boast or brag about that.”
PBP: Do you feel like things happened quickly for you here, given that you were the primary running back as a sophomore?
TM: “It wasn’t overwhelming. I’d been praying and hoping for that opportunity. I made the most of it. I’m pretty confident in my game. I always felt like I could do it. I just had to prove it to everyone who thought I was too small or wasn’t fast enough. I proved it to them.”
PBP: What else could you play in the NFL besides running back?
TM: “I love playing special teams and doing things like that. I try to be dangerous. I’ve got a knack for returning kicks. I’ve liked that since high school. You have to be calm and decisive. Every cut has to be decisive. You can’t stutter your feet. Just get it and go. I want to play running back in the league. Wherever the ball goes, I’ll go. I’m trying to be an all-around athlete. I could make a difference at any position. But I’m a running back.”
PBP: In Week 2, you rushed for 99 yards and Auburn won. How did you celebrate?
TM: “It’s just another win knocked down. I’m just trying to stay out of trouble and do everything right. I just popped in a movie and went to sleep. There’s not much out there for me. I’m not a big party animal. I like to relax. While I’m up here, this is work. I’m concentrating on a goal and a dream. There’s no reason for me to be celebrating anything right now.”
PBP: You came here wanting a business degree, but had to change your major to public administration. Why?
TM: “It’s less challenging. Business was a lot. I wanted to come here and get an MBA, but it was getting really challenging with football going on. I wish I could still stick to that plan, but it got really complicated playing football and taking business classes. I wanted to do business really bad, but there just wasn’t enough time.”
PBP: How much credit does Park Vista coach Brian Dodds deserve for what you’ve done?
TM: “He helped greatly. He put the ball in my hands. He called the plays. I did something with it. We’re still close.”