New-look Bobcats embracing new era of Bates College football

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Bates College quarterback Brendan Costa works with offensive coordinator Custavious Patterson at the Lewiston college on Sunday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — The new era of Bates College football has a new outfit.

The Bobcats unveiled their new uniforms Sunday morning for their team photo and the program’s media day at Garcelon Field.

The new Under Armour uniforms vary slightly from the Adidas versions worn in recent seasons — they’re still maroon-on-maroon but have black and white accents — but they are clearly an updated look.

“We’ve been waiting for these,” senior defensive back and team captain Joe Frake said. “It seemed like every year, it was like, ‘We getting new unis? We getting new unis?’ And (athletic director) Mr. (Jason) Fein and Coach (Malik) Hall, I’m sure they played a huge role in making sure that we’re looking real good. And we’re rocking these Under Armours now. I love it. I love it.”

The uniforms might be a new symbol of new era, but they were already in the works before Hall was hired in June. Fein, Bates’ second-year athletic director, expressed a desire for new football uniforms long before Mark Harriman stepped down after 20 years leading the program.

“It was almost like, wow, that’s not something I got to put on my to-do list,” Hall said. “Though I love them, they love them. I think it’s another way to remind them, hey, this is not the same old Bates Bobcats football.”

A better symbol of Bates’ new era is probably the Hall dancing on the “B” logo at midfield to music being played during Sunday’s special teams practice.

“He brings the energy every day, and I think that brings up the players,” said senior running back and team captain Kyle Flaherty, a former Oak Hill High School standout. “He does a great job of coming out here, he’s never down, he’s always up, like where we need to be, and I think matching his energy, and surpassing that, is important. And that’s something we need to get everyone on the team on board with.”

The Bates players are only a week into their preseason under Hall, but the energy has already been injected into the program.

“The intensity we go at, the pace we’re going at,” Frake said, “everything’s just so organized, everyone’s invested, everyone’s involved. I mean, we’re up early, we go to bed late, just because we love doing it.”

The Bobcats’ helmets also will have a new decals this year, but Hall is holding off on revealing them, maybe until some sort of a pep rally in front of the student body next week, maybe until the opening game at Amherst on Sept. 15.

The Bobcats coaches and players also are avoiding fully unveiling their new offensive and defensive schemes.

They provide enough details, though, to know that the offense under new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Custavious Patterson will be a stark contrast from the triple-option Bates ran in previous seasons.

“It’s under lock and key right now, but the offense is going to be good,” starting quarterback Brendan Costa, a sophomore, said. “It’s going to be explosive and people are going to be ready to watch us run around the field and score some points.”

“A lot more throwing this year,” Costa added. “We’re not an option team anymore. We’re going to use our athletes and use our speed and put up some points this year.”

The defense will rely heavily on its defensive line, and not only because Hall and new defensive coordinator Brandon Potvin are former defensive linemen — both at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“We’re going to be very variable. We’re going to be active,” Potvin said. “Up front, I tell these guys all the time, this is the best defensive line I’ve been a part of, not only as a coach, but as a player. These guys, physically, could play with the guys that I played with at UMass. Now it’s just a matter of cutting them loose.”

Along with changing the offense and the defense, Hall also wants to change the results of a program that has only experienced four winning seasons over the past 40 years.

A few former Bates players have talked to this year’s team, including running back Sean Atkins, whose name is all over the school’s record books, and all-time sack leader Terence Ryan.

“Those guys said that they would give their stats to say that they won here,” Hall said. “To hear from someone that echoed the message that I have been talking to (the players) about, it makes you think, man, this could be special. And they’re handling it that way.”

Flaherty said that the senior class is focused on not only setting a tone for the future, but also on speeding up the Bobcats’ ascent.

“We don’t want to wait around,” Flaherty said. “We don’t want to be just the start of this new era, we want to be the era, the new era, and really just do some great things.”

Bates College head football coach Malik Hall has fun with his team on Sunday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Quinn Woods of Minot played for Hebron Academy. He is a freshman offensive lineman for the Bates College Bobcats. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Bates College offensive lineman Ramon Ruiz, center, lines up with the rest of his teammates for a team picture at the Lewiston college on Sunday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

The Bates College football team held their media day at the Lewiston campus on Sunday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Bates College head football coach Malik Hall has fun with his team during media day pictures on Sunday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Quarterback Brendan Costa wearing the old Bates College football uniform against Tufts last season. (Sun Journal file photo)

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