- Feb 12, 2021
It’s mind boggling how Harbaugh went away from Mason after his dominant sophomore year and switched to the spread offense that 95% of the country runs. Your right Phall it was probably Gattis as Harbaugh has always loved fullbacks. Here are a some awesome highlights of Ben. Unstoppable in short yardage!Mayfield admittedly had me fooled about his race for more than half of his abridged Michigan career. He has a sort of pale, flushed, pinkish complexion. Mayfield was supposed to be an anchor for the offensive line this past season, but got dinged up after two games. Rumors flared that he was "done" with the team (once Michigan started losing), and soon after, he did in fact quit the team to focus on his pro career. I thought it was odd that a white player would give up on his teammates midseason: I remember one of the Bosa brothers left before the end of a season rather than rush back from injury, but they were both slotted as top-3 picks and had plenty to lose. Usually, it's much more of a black player thing.
It was actually reading the message boards in a fit of offseason boredom where I learned about a tweet from Mayfield's mom that someone or other wasn't "down for the struggle" or some such nonsense. I clicked through and discovered the family photo that Mayfield is actually an Obama. (Both his white mom and black dad are the size of walruses and will likely be doing their grocery shopping in mobility scooters if either lives to age 65).
Anyway, my report on Mayfield is that he is a lazy underachiever with a selfish attitude who shirks responsibility and would be a locker room net negative. As I recall, he had one or two strong games in 2019 against decent competition as a right tackle, but he was by no means flawless. The expected learning curve improvement never manifested on the field. He is definitely not a road grader in the run game, and I'd be concerned that he didn't bench.
Ben Mason is by all accounts a ferocious player and impressive specimen. He actually scored 7 touchdowns in 2018 in the battering ram role. Nicknamed "Bench" for his diligent workout habits, it was a guarantee he would test well.
In 2019, Harbaugh hired black offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to run his "speed in space" playbook. No one really knows what that is, since it's been two years of scattershot playcalling, but that's beside the point. The trend was toward black receivers and away from blocking tight ends, and fullbacks are definitely not allowed. Mason was asked to switch positions, as white players often are, so he beefed up to about 270 and joined the defensive tackle rotation. The idea was to keep his athleticism on the field in some capacity, but as Mason was undersized and lacking technique, the experiment was not a success. Mason was invited to reprise his role at fullback in a pinch in the third game of the season against Wisconsin. An unfortunate fumble inside the five yard line, the only fumble of his career, kept Michigan off the scoreboard on its first drive, and Wisconsin went on to win in a blowout. We know the rule for white skill position players fumbling or dropping a pass: they never play again. Mason finished out the season as an unused DT.
In 2020, Mason returned to his natural role of smashmouth blocker. He showcased his agility as flipped his way into the endzone in Week One for a highlight reel touchdown. Unfortunately, he only received one other touch throughout the shortened season, being employed exclusively as a (very effective) run blocker. Even this concession was either begrudgingly employed by Gattis, or overruled and enforced by Harbaugh. Who knows or cares?
I imagine Mason has the sort of attitude and presence as someone like Larry Csonka. There's no reason to believe he can't hit the holes just as hard in a straight-line running role. Realistically, he's auditioning for a role as a special teams beast and occasional gadget player. I'd put him higher on my draft board than Mayfield.