Eastern Michigan interim head coach Stan Parrish spoke to the media this week, addressing the Eagles loss to Bowling Green and their trip to Mount Pleasant on Friday.
On loss to Bowling Green:
"Well, let me first say that Bowling Green is the best defensive team that we've played all year long. They just completed took us out of everything. That's a credit to them and we didn't play very well, to be honest. I was disappointed. We had an open date before this week and had time to prepare. We were just simply overwhelmed. We were three and out every series of the first half and we just don't have that big of a margin for error. They made several plays offensively and played a very solid game."
On the game with Central Michigan:
"To be honest, we played very poorly last week and we were all very disappointed in the way we played, but we have another rivalry game coming up, so we have to move on quickly with a short week. We've got Central Michigan and we've got a chance to win the Michigan MAC Trophy because we've already beaten Western Michigan. If we can find a way to beat the Chips up in Mount Pleasant on Friday, we can reclaim that trophy. The football gods are good to us. In lieu of all we've been through this year, we still have something to play for in this last game."
On the Michigan MAC Trophy:
"It really is a special trophy, particularly for the in-state kids because most of them looked at all the schools and are somewhat recruited by all the schools. The trauma that our team has had to go through this season has been well documented and we're holding together. We'll have a good plan and good preparation for this game. Dan has done a good job up there. They just overwhelmed UMass last weekend. Their defense created a bunch of turnovers and their tailback coming back has helped them. They've got a couple playmakers on offense that we have to really be concerned with. We've got our work cut out for us."
On the experience of being an interim coach this season:
"It's been very difficult to say the least. Fortunately, as a former head coach, I know some of the things that happen on a daily basis, but it's been extremely difficult. Ron English is a very close friend of mine and to have to take over for him on short notice was very difficult. What we've tried to do is carry on. I look at myself as a relief pitcher in the ninth inning trying to get us to the finish line. I've tried to keep things as even-keeled as I can. I've continued my job as the offensive coordinator and I'm coaching the game up in the press box. The staff and the team have made a good adjustment, but it's difficult in many ways and to have to jump back into performing the day-to-day tasks of the head coach is even more difficult. Fortunately, I've done that in the past and hopefully they will see that I've done a good job in relief of Ron."
On the morale of the players and program after the emotional roller coaster of this season:
"I don't think there's any question and I think that showed last weekend. We just didn't have the energy that we did against Western and you can't play against a team like Bowling Green like that. But it's not a game of excuses, it's a game of results and getting everybody refocused so they can do the very best they can. That's our goal for this week and we want to win the game badly."
On winning the Michigan MAC Trophy:
"It would be wonderful for the kids on this team. This is about the players. It isn't about me or anybody else, it's about the players and these kids have had to endure a season like no other season. It was nice to beat Western a few weeks ago. It would be wonderful for the kids to win this game and the trophy, just like it was a few weeks ago. No question about it."
On the challenges that CMU presents:
"They're a very well coached football team and they've got some of their weapons back that they didn't have earlier in the season. This team lost two of their best players in the first game of the season. Dan has done a good job keeping them together and doing what they do. They played really well earlier in the year against Ohio University, upsetting them in Athens, and played a really strong game last weekend. They can run it and they can throw it and their defense is very aggressive. They're a well-coached team. I know a lot of the coaches on that staff at CMU and he's got a veteran group who has that team playing very well."
On the opportunity for the two young quarterbacks (Brogan Roback and Cooper Rush) in this game:
You can't duplicate this experience in practice, playing in important games and rivalry games. These are games that they have to learn to slow the game down and keep themselves in the moment. Both are learning on the fly. Their quarterback has played a little more than ours has. Brogan had a real rough day last Saturday, so we'll see how he rebounds from that. But you can't put enough of a premium on experience. At Ball State, I started Keith Wenning as a true freshman and in fact, I think his first start was up at Central and those guys learn along the way as they go. It's certainly a process.
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