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Tre Mason will compete for the starting running back job

The Auburn running back says that the Rams coaches want him to take a shot at the starting gig during camp.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

HOLLYWOOD -- The St. Louis Rams have a position brewing, and not one you might have expected just a few weeks ago. Rookie Tre Mason told SB Nation on Thursday afternoon at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere that head coach Jeff Fisher expects him to compete for the starting running back job with incumbent Zac Stacy.

Now the question becomes whether or not this is one of those classic coach's talking points or a legitimate competition. Zac Stacy had a breakout rookie year in 2013, accumulating 972 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games. That includes four games where he broke the 100-yard mark.

Mason is now in the process of learning the Rams offense, but he's not starting from scratch.

"It's a pro style offense, back to high school and my sophomore year in college," Mason said about the Rams offense. "My sophomore year, before Coach [Gus] Malzahn, we ran the I-formation, same terminology."

For a legitimate shot at the starting gig, he'll need a big camp. That includes assuring coaches about his ability to hang onto the ball. He had eight fumbles in his last two years at Auburn. He hasn't done much work as a receiver or a pass blocker either.

"They want me to be ready as fast as possible," he added. "Coach [Fisher] told me he expects me to be ready as fast as possible."

Stacy struggled with nagging injuries throughout the season. Even if Mason doesn't win the starting tailback job, he'll need to be ready to play.

Another x-factor to consider is that Fisher already knows Mason pretty well. The coach's son was Mason's teammate at Auburn, and Mason said Thursday that he already knew Fisher prior to getting the call from him during the draft.

Whoever wins, it should make for an interesting position battle come August.