CHARLESTON (WCIA) — Eastern Illinois head coach Kim Dameron knew something had to give. The Panthers finished the 2017 season 5-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference, missing a chance at the FCS playoffs for the second straight season. So Dameron fired longtime offensive coordinator Greg Stevens and hired Scott Parr to replace him.
“I just felt like at the end of the season it was time for a change,” Dameron said. “We’ve been in the same system for four years and so we did.”
Parr brings with him an up-tempo, air-raid offense. He’s hoping to spark a unit that averaged less than 20 points per game last year. The new offensive coordinator got his first chance to work out on the field with the Panthers on Tuesday afternoon.
“Hopefully we’re going to be much more exciting,” Dameron said. “We’re going to be a little more fast-paced, up-tempo. I think the kids are excited about it.”
“Very appealing to me, but it’s not just going to be me,” Eastern Illinois receiver Aaron Gooch said. “We’re going to have a good rotation, especially because we’re going to need so many receivers with this offense.”
At quarterback, the Panthers return sophomore starter Scotty Gilkey, Jr. but also add two transfers in Harry Woodberry and Jonathon Brantley.
“To be honest with you, the last time that we put up the type of numbers that I’m hoping we’ll be able to put up, it was more of a wide open style offense here,” added Dameron. “Of course, they had Jimmy Garoppolo as a quarterback so that helps. So, if I can get one of these guys to play at that level, I think we’re going to be alright.”
EIU plays its annual Spring Game on April 21 at O’Brien Field. The season opener for the Panthers is Sept. 1 at Arkansas.