Bates College offensive coordinator Custavious Patterson runs offensive drills during practice on Wednesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

When Malik Hall was hired as Bates College’s football coach in June, he went to work on convincing Custavious Patterson to be his offensive coordinator.

Patterson immediately did a deep dive into whatever video he could find of Bobcats quarterback Brendan Costa.

He watched last year’s games, beginning with when Costa took over as QB in the third week of his freshman season. He saw things like Costa running 70 yards for a touchdown on only his second college play.

Costa would be a great fit for Patterson’s offense.

“I got excited about it,” Patterson, who joined Bates after six seasons at Wagner, said. “When you take over a new program, that’s the hardest thing, the No. 1 thing you’re trying build is a quarterback. That last staff, they did a good job putting that in place.”

Not only did Patterson watch Costa’s college games, he also watched the quarterback’s high school film.

“I went through his whole catalogue,” Patterson said.

Patterson did the same thing for most of Bates’ offensive players.

Clearly, Patterson is thorough. But he also wanted to see how Costa and others performed in an offense more like the one Patterson is bringing to the Bobcats.

Gone is the triple-option Bates has run the past several years, including Costa’s freshman season. In its place will be something uptempo and akin to the Air Raid, the pass-heavy spread offense made famous by Mike Leach, first at Texas Tech and currently at Washington State

“Last year, we did throw the ball in some spread concepts, but this year it’s going to be a feature thing that we do,” Costa said.

Patterson has been a college coach since 2005, and since then he has traveled around the country talking to and learning from college football’s best offensive minds.

He’s met and talked to Leach, and counts Leach acolyte and West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia head coach) and Tony Franklin (Middle Tennessee offensive coordinator) as two of his main influences. He’s incorporated concepts from several other offensive gurus, including June Jones, Chip Kelly and the late Joe Tiller. He also learned the West Coast offense his final two years at Wagner.

It only takes a short conversation with Patterson to recognize that he’s a student of the game. Talk to the Bates players, though, and they’ll say he’s a just as much coach of the game.

“His offensive mind is just insane,” senior wide receiver Marcus Ross said.

“He’s one of the best offensive minds I’ve been around,” senior captain Kyle Flaherty said. “He knows so much about this sport and he’s teaching us so much.”

Patterson and Hall go all the way back to their time as young assistant coaches at Central Connecticut State University.

The start to their college coaching careers had a Bates connection: Ed Argast, an Bobcats assistant at Bates under Web Harrison in 1979-80, was a veterarn assistant at Central Connecticut.

Argast knew Patterson as a player and even recruited him to play at Canisius College, but that coincided with the school dropping its football program.

“At Canisius, he took our third-string offense against our first-string defense and went right down the field in a scrimmage,” Argast said. “He could throw and run, make plays with his arm and with his feet … and had a real good understanding of the game.”

While Argast was never able to coach Patterson through a season, he still recognized the potential the former quarterback had to be a good coach.

“First of all, he loves football,” Argast said. “He was just determined to make something of his life, and he was going to do it through football.

“It doesn’t take long time for his enthusiasm and love of the game, and really his genuineness to be contagious. Not a dishonest bone in his body.”

Patterson grew up in the football hotbed of Belle Glade, Florida (NFL players such as Kelvin Benjamin, Santonio Holmes, Fred Taylor and many, many more played at Patterson’s high school, Glades Central).

After a successful career as a high school quarterback, Patterson spent two years as the starter at SUNY-Morrisville. He set school records for passing touchdowns and total yardage, was named all-conference and All-America honorable mention.

After Canisius didn’t work out, he spent a year as the starting quarterback at Morgan State.

Patterson then went back to Florida and became a high school assistant coach.

There was an opening on the Central Connecticut staff that Argast wanted Patterson to fill. But Patterson wasn’t sure because he was content being a high school coach.

So Argast asked Hall to help him convince Patterson to come to the Northeast and become a college coach.

“Malik actually recruited me into college coaching,” Patterson, entering his 14th season, said. “If it wasn’t for him, and Coach Argast, I wouldn’t be a college coach right now. If it wasn’t with the right people, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Hall and Patterson have been friends ever since.

“We always have a lot of fun,” Patterson said. “And we’re very competitive. We’re used to competing against each other in everything from video games to pickup basketball, we’re very intense. But at the end of the day, we can be hugging each other’s kids and families. We’re truly good friends, we’re brothers, actually.”

Bates is the fourth staff that Patterson and Hall have been on together. Besides Central Connecticut, they were at Fordham for a year and Wagner for three seasons.

So it’s not a surprise that when Hall took his first head coaching job this summer, he convinced Patterson to leave NCAA Division I Wagner to join the staff at Bates College. They often talked about hiring each other when one of them became a head coach.

“It was one one of those things we talked about as a dream, and that dream has now evolved into a reality,” Patterson said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve helped a lot of head coaches build programs, and I think it’s time for me to help my best friend build his program.”

Since arriving in Lewiston less than two months ago, Patterson has joined Hall and the other coaches in working to turn Bates into a winning program.

“He’s so bought into the program already,” Costa said. “He just wants to win. He’s been telling us, ‘I’ve won everywhere I go, and I’m not going to stop that.’ So he wants to win, same with Coach Hall, and that’s what I love about them.”

Patterson has been part of several league championships during his coaching career. Bates doesn’t have a championship legacy, but Patterson thinks it’s possible to bring one to Lewiston.

“It gives us a chance to redo the things some of the things we did at Fordham and Central Connecticut State and Wagner,” Patterson said. “When we went into those places, they didn’t have winning seasons or championships, and we went in there and we were a part of changing the culture, so we believe we have the foundation to do that here at Bates.”

Bates College offensive coordinator Custavious Patterson runs offensive drills during practice on Wednesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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