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Stan Parrish tasked with improving Eastern Michigan offense


Stan Parrish is 67 years old and has been a football coach for almost his entire adult life. This season, he's working on a one-year contract as offensive coordinator at a Mid-American Conference school (Eastern Michigan) whose head coach is perceived as a lame duck.

Parrish, who was quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 and '03 under Jon Gruden, has been hired to ramp up an Eastern Michigan offense that hasn't ranked better than 91st nationally in five years.

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EMU is 10-38 in the past four seasons -- and that includes a six-win season in 2011. The Eagles were 2-10 last season, and coach Ron English is in the final year of his contract. English shook up his staff following last season; he named himself defensive coordinator (he is a former DC at Michigan and UCLA) and needed a new offensive coordinator. He turned to Parrish, who last coached in 2010, when he was head coach at Ball State.

Parrish, a former Michigan assistant, lives in Ann Arbor, about 20 minutes from EMU's campus in Ypsilanti.

"I just happened to be right down the road and he just happened to be looking for somebody," Parrish told reporters Sunday at Eastern Michigan's media day. "Coach needs to have a good year, and I want to help him have a good year. That's the bottom line on why I came."

In addition to Ball State (2008-10), Parrish also has been a head coach at Division II Wabash (1978-82), Marshall (1984-85) and Kansas State (1986-88). He has been an assistant with Purdue, Michigan, Ball State and Rutgers along with the Bucs.

Junior Bronson Hill leads a solid group of running backs, and Parrish's main task is to improve the Eagles' passing attack. He has tweaked the offense to include some spread elements, which should suit junior quarterback Tyler Benz (6 feet 3, 215 pounds). Benz, who has some mobility, started nine games last season and threw for 1,511 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Parrish thinks Benz should have a good season.

"I put a lot of pressure on him every day," Parrish told reporters Sunday. " ... If the quarterback doesn't play well in this offense, you lose. It's that plain and simple. How's that for pressure on a kid?"

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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