Mason’s club football team held tryouts to scout out new talent to bolster their roster. Photo by: John Powell

Ten in the morning on a Saturday is not the usual time that any college student wants to be waking up let alone trying out for the club football team. With a group of about 20 looking to try out for the George Mason club football team, head coach Matt Dyson was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s a good start for what we’re working with and we will be canvassing the campus to find those who have an interest in playing,” said Dyson.

Dyson, a two-time All-Big Ten selection at Michigan and a fifth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders, has been coaching Mason club football for three years now and replaced Dr. Joe Paschale, who established the team in 1993.

Under Paschale’s tenure as head coach, the Patriots won five Seaboard Conference titles from 2000-05 and then was mysteriously let go. Paschale helped those players looking to transfer to better football schools and ever since, the team has been in a rebuilding stage and trying to gain more recruits.

As a club team, the most difficult aspect is recruiting. Relying on exposure, word of mouth and advertising are the only ways of gaining new recruits. Along with that comes the implied casual play of a club team that is one of the only club teams that is the lone option for the sport across the board.

“One of the biggest issues that we have is that people think that because we’re a club team, they only have to come to practice once a week and still get to play, which is the wrong mentality. We take our football very seriously and we play serious games against NCAA competition and junior college competition.”

Junior quarterback Jack Langley has been with the team since he came in as a freshman, even joining the team in the summer before his freshman year. Since then he has seen a steady improvement in the recruiting.

“The recruiting process is definitely better than any other year I’ve been here. We have a lot more kids coming out which is a really, really good thing. We’re definitely looking for more big bodies for the line which is our weakness right now,” said Langley, who has been playing football all his life.

With President Merten leaving in 2012, the talks of a varsity football team have heated up. Merten has been a strong advocate against the institution of a football program at Mason along with the city of Fairfax. The possibility of having a team will be discussed by the Board of Visitors in 2013. The Mason club football team will be holding another tryout around finals.