But he also has to be ready to be the starting quarterback at any moment should Aaron Murray get injured. It’s a fine line Mason is trying to walk.
“The coaches are expecting me to be ready,” Mason said. “I have to prepare myself to be the starter, but I’m hoping (Murray) has a great year.”
The former Lassiter star is entering this season with the intention of redshirting. If Murray, who threw for 3,149 yards and 35 touchdowns this year, has another stellar season as a junior this season, then there is a good chance that he could forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
At that point, Mason would potentially have two years to be the starter. However, if Murray gets hurt, then things get interesting.
“If that would happen in the first three or four weeks of the season, there’s a good chance I’ll be going in to play,” Mason said. “But if it happens in Week 8 or 9? We haven’t decided that yet.”
After two seasons of limited action that saw him complete 27 of 47 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns, Mason said he would be OK with allowing redshirt freshman Christian LeMay to play the last few games to maintain his extra year of eligibility.
“I don’t mind giving (those games) up if I can start and help the team for two years,” Mason said.
Thanks to current LSU starter Zach Mettenberger being dismissed from the team and Logan Gray moving to wide receiver two years ago, Mason stepped into the primary backup role as a true freshman. When he got there, he was 6-foot-3 , weighing 185 pounds. Since then, he has added 25 pounds to reach 210. He said the additional muscle has helped his arm get stronger and has also increased his accuracy.
This summer, new strength and conditioning coach John Thomas introduced the quarterbacks to the discipline of martial arts through Muay Thai boxing and an intense cardiovascular workout.
“The Mauy Thai has us working new muscle groups,” Mason said. “It’s helped with our shoulder strength and our core. We do a constant quick pace for 45 minutes and we do a lot of push ups and quick type motions.”
Mason has also spent his time on the practice field and in the film room, and he said he knows if he has to take over early in the season, he will be ready.
“I know it,” Mason said about the offense. “It wasn’t until this spring until I was completely comfortable, but the process slows down and you can just go out and play.”
How does he know he is comfortable with the offense? He’s been helping some of the younger guys on the depth chart. It’s the kind of attention Mason was unable to get when he first got there because there wasn’t the same kind of veteran presence.
“(New freshman Fanton Bauta) was sitting in there with his head spinning,” Mason said. “I just told him to stay positive and keep working, because at first, you just get overwhelmed.”