Over the years, the spread formation has usually been the bread and butter of Pingree's football offense. It helped bring them back-to-back bowl championships in 2009 and 2010, when they averaged 32.8 and 39.2 points per game, respectively.
But something has to give when you hire a former NFL offensive lineman as your new head coach.
Fortunately, Highlanders first-year head coach Mike Flynn is a man of compromise.
"We have a great O-line this year, so we need to take advantage of it," said Flynn. "(Offensive line coach) Rob Van Tuyl has been doing a great job with the boys this summer.
"We're still going to spread it out, but we're also going to lean on them to get the tough yards when we need them."
Flynn, who spent 10 seasons in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens as a right guard/center, noted the enthusiasm his linemen have had when practicing run-heavy formations — specifically senior captains Grant Latimer and Alex Suny as well as juniors Kevin Gillis & Paul Larrabee.
"They totally bought into the adjustment and have had great camps," said Flynn. "I also heard that most of them needed to play when they were underclassmen ... and it definitely shows. They have a good understanding of what we want to do, which helps me big time."
"The wide receivers and running backs needed a little more time to adjust," he added with a slight chuckle. "But the important thing is that everyone needs to buy in, and they've done a great job ,too."
While the Super Bowl XXXV champion can't help but show his bias, a big reason Flynn wants to stick with the spread is a result of the impressive summer his skill players have had.
"We're going to be a fast team with a lot of speed on the outside," said Flynn. "A few guys have really been turning heads during camp, like (senior captain) Eric Adinkra at running back and Harrison Greenslade at wide receiver. Eric's been great with his assignments and Greenslade has been doing great things for us."
Another pleasant surprise for the Highlanders has been Michael Pisanelli, who is slated to make the move from safety to middle linebacker. Pisanelli has made the most of his transition, and along with senior captain Vito Visconti is set to head Pingree's hard-hitting linebacker corps.
"We've been letting Mike go free during practice and he's been playing it really well," said Flynn. "He may be on the smaller side, but he's strong, fast and a hard hitter."
Flynn and the Highlanders have a lot to look forward to when their seven-game regular season starts September 22nd against Portsmouth Abbey. One area of concern for the coach is his squad's depth and age, but he won't let it define them.
"It's definitely an area where we could struggle," said Flynn. "We've all had a great camp, but all it takes is for a couple of guys to go down and all of the sudden we're figuring out where to plug guys in. We just need to work on staying healthy and limiting the small injuries as much as possible."
Last year’s record: 4-4
Head coach: Mike Flynn (1st season)
Team captains: Eric Adinkra, Sr., RB/LB ; Vito Visconti, Sr., RB/LB; Grant Latimer, Sr., OL/LB; Alexander Suny, Sr., OL/DL
Top returning rusher: Eric Adinkra (116 rushes, 856 yards, 9 TD)
Top returning passer: Patrick Alymer (60-for-113, 931 yards, 7 TD)
Top returning receiver: Alex Suny (17 catches, 261 yards)
Last league title: 2010 (Evergreen League)
Did You Know?: Mike Flynn is only the second head coach Pingree has ever had. Chris Powers, who helped create the football program, was at the helm for 12 seasons. He went 68-39 and guided the Highlanders to two NEPSAC Bowl championships.
(does not include potential EIL playoff games)
Date Opponent Time
Sept. 22nd Portsmouth Abbey 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 29th at Hyde School (ME) 2 p.m.
Oct. 6th Cushing Academy 6 p.m.
Oct. 13th Albany Academy 5 p.m.
Oct. 20th at Kents Hill School 3 p.m.
Nov. 3rd Hebron Academy 6 p.m.
Nov. 9th at Dexter Southfield School 6 p.m.