By Will LeBlond
This year’s Lansing football team will have a different type of two-headed attack.
After he coached three separate varsity sports and became the interim athletic director last season, Stu Dean was asked to give up one of his coaching spots, which opened a spot for the football team. Instead of one person to fill the role, it will be a pair of familiar faces to man the sidelines this fall.
Brett Hotchkiss and Miles Levesque were assistant coaches on last year’s Bobcat team – this year they will serve as co-head coaches. The plan is for Hotchkiss to lead the offense and for Levesque to coach the defense, which will not be anything new for the duo.
“Coach Dean had talked about it last year and we had some co-coordinating roles last year,” said Hotchkiss. “After sitting down and talking to Stu about it after he made the decision to step down, we thought it was a pretty natural transition for us to split the roles.”
“Really it came down to what was going to be the best thing to do for the program,” said Levesque. “We decided to stick with it and go with the role of us being co-coaches this year.”
It will be the first head coaching position at the high school level for both men, who both work in the Lansing School District. While it will be a transition to get used to the head roles, they have been talking together for quite a while now to try and visualize how the setup will work out on the field.
“Throughout the whole summer, Brett and I have been meeting,” said Levesque. “We do our weight room sessions. We meet then and after just to discuss our offensive, defensive and special teams schemes.”
In terms of in-game setup, the two also have a plan in place to be the most efficient.
“In terms of the decision-making piece, we worked pretty well together last year in making decisions on field position and things like that,” said Hotchkiss. “We coordinate those decisions together and I’ll probably be up in the box and Miles will call everything on the field, but we have pretty discrete guidelines that we follow.”
Levesque and Hotchkiss will inherit a team that rallied late in 2016 to finish 4-4, before they fell to Spencer-Van Etten/Candor in the Class C Section IV semifinals 28-20. After missing out on a sectional title game appearance by just one score last fall, they want to build on that success.
“The expectations are probably pretty high after we went to the sectional semifinals last year,” said Hotchkiss. “We did graduate a fair amount of players, but we do have a lot of guys that we’ve brought in that have a fair amount of experience.”
Perhaps the most notable piece that departed from last year’s team is running back Tim Kelley, who put up unbelievable numbers on the ground. He ran for around 2,000 yards last fall and he will surely be missed, but there are ways to duplicate that offense when the Bobcats spread the ball around.
“It’ll definitely be a multi-faceted approach this year,” said Hotchkiss. “Even though I think all our guys have exploits to be that guy, I think having a little more multiplicity and diversity will help us offensively.”
The countdown to see how the duo’s system will work is just about out now, as the team will begin the 2017 campaign on September 2 on the road against Moravia. Both of the new co-coaches have had that date circled on their calendar for quite a while now.
“We’re just so excited to get started,” said Levesque. “Brett and I have been talking about it for eight months now and we’re pretty excited to finally get in that week one and game plan for our first opponent.”
After their season opener, the Bobcats will open up the home portion of their schedule on Friday, September 8 against Whitney Point.