BRUNSWICK, Maine -- As the first of seven head coaches to speak at Monday's kickoff luncheon for the Maine chapter of the National Football Foundation, new head coach Malik Hall discussed his vision for Bates football, with the team's first practices now less than a month away.
"We want to coach the person, not the product," Hall told the crowded gathering at Bowdoin College, which included the head coaches of Maine's six other college football programs. "Once you buy too much into the product you forget that this is a people business. It's people that make programs great."
Following the event, which was hosted by Bates alumnus and former Bowdoin head coach Howard Vandersea '63, Hall had a chance to elaborate on the composition of his coaching staff and the schemes they'll be implementing.
Bates fans can expect to see a version of the air raid offense this season, Hall said, with new offensive coordinator Custavious Patterson calling the plays. The up-tempo, passing-oriented offense has been made famous most recently by Mike Leach's teams at Texas Tech and Washington State. The scheme is relatively simple to implement and entertaining to watch.
Patterson, who also attended the luncheon along with other Bates coaches and alumni, comes to Bates from Wagner College, where he served as an offensive coordinator and coached the wide receivers. A Florida native and former college quarterback, Patterson graduated from Morgan State in 2004 and earned a master's degree in education from Wagner in 2014.
"With the air raid offense, the defense is never sure where the ball is going," Hall said. "Custavious runs a high-octane offense and he's helped develop quarterbacks everywhere he's been, including John Skelton of Fordham who got drafted by the Arizona Cardinals."
Patterson will mentor rising sophomore quarterback Brendan Costa (Westport, Mass.), who passed for 826 yards and rushed for 821 as a first-year in 2017. Costa accounted for 10 total touchdowns and earned the team's offensive MVP award.
Hall has a defensive background, and is excited to work with new defensive coordinator Brandon Potvin in implementing an aggressive 3-4 scheme this season. Potvin comes to Bates from Nichols College, where he coached the inside linebackers. He will also work with the linebackers at Bates. Potvin graduated in 2013 from Hall's alma mater, the University of Massachusetts, where he was a four-year starter on the defensive line.
The Bobcats are expected to return seven of their eight leading tacklers from a year ago, including rising junior safety Jon Lindgren (Plainville, Conn.), who finished first on the team and seventh in the NESCAC with 75 tackles in 2017.
"I like to make the other team's offense defend us," Hall said. "That sounds great on paper and makes for a good sound bite. But there's a lot of work that goes into that. It's not necessarily about the amount of pressure you bring on defense, but where the pressure is coming from to take the opposing offense out of their comfort zone."
Skip Capone (offensive line) returns for his 22nd year on the Bates coaching staff. Meanwhile, Tino Lopes (defensive line) and Tyler Cottle (defensive backs) return as well. Hall credits the returning coaches with keeping this year's recruiting class together after previous head coach Mark Harriman stepped down in April.
Dominique Gaston (wide receivers) and Garrett McLaughlin (running backs) are also newcomers to the Bates coaching staff. Hall says he might add one or two more coaches to his staff, but he is pleased with the group currently in place.
Despite being new to Maine, Hall saw a familiar face at Monday's luncheon: Colby's new head coach, Jack Cosgrove. Cosgrove coached at the University of Maine when Hall was playing at the University of Massachusetts.
"I've never been double-teamed in my life like I was double-teamed when we played Maine," Hall said. "Needless to say, [Cosgrove] coaches a very physical football team. If you do not have your chinstrap on tight, it will get knocked off."
However, Bates fans eager to see the Bobcats win their fifth straight CBB series title will be pleased to hear about Hall's record against Cosgrove: 2-0.
The Bobcats open their 2018 season on Saturday, September 15 at 1 p.m. when they host Amherst at Garcelon Field.