Espy says Rebs will continue to improve

Fifth-year senior receiver and returner Mike Espy says he feels the Rebels are progressing nicely as fall camp closes and classes begin.

Mike Espy has been around Ole Miss football for a long time now. He agrees that this year's team is about as eager for classes to start, which happens to be today, as any he's been around.

"But the camp's all been good," said Espy, one of the veterans of the 2005 Rebel football team. "It was fun. It was also one of the toughest and hardest camps I've ever been through. I believe a lot of good is going to come out of it."

Espy said that while the Rebels had been through spring practice under the new staff, it was the preseason camp of August that really got them in tune with what Coach Ed Orgeron and his assistants wanted from them.

"In all areas we're better," said the 6-foot, 195-pound, fifth-year senior from Madison Central High. "It was just totally different and has improved us. We came in not really knowing what to expect. Now that we've made it through it, we can soon start really preparing for our opponents."

Espy said the difference in camp this year and last year are fairly obvious.

"We knew how to work last year, but it just seems like more is expected of us now," said Espy, with 1,236 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 84 receptions during his three playing seasons at Ole Miss. "We all know if we aren't doing our job on the practice field, then we won't be on the field for the games. That seems to be a big difference from last year. If you messed up in the past, you were going to get that second chance. But with Coach O, if you mess up now, you never know. You might be through."

Espy said he felt like August camp, his fifth as a Rebel, was a good one for him personally.

"I think I did well," said Espy, also a kick and punt returner for the Rebels who was named on several preseason lists as an All-SEC pick as a returner. "I worked to become more consistent, and I believe I did that. I got in and out of my routes better. I think I improved my game a lot, and I believe it will pay off this season."

Espy said he felt Saturday's scrimmage wrapping up camp before classes begin was positive.

"I thought it was a good scrimmage," said Espy, who caught 6 passes for 59 yards in the two-hour long session. "It was back and forth. At first the defense was shutting us down virtually every drive. But then the offense started picking it up."

With two weeks to go before kickoff against Memphis on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. in the Liberty Bowl on Sept. 5, Espy says the offense has a ways to go. But he's sure it will get there.

"We've got to do the little things better," he said. "If you're a lineman and are supposed to step left on a certain play, you need to make sure to step left. If you're a receiver and you've got to get an inside release on a route, there's a reason for it. So you have to do it.

"The little things. We have to do them better. We have to continue to buy into what the coaches are telling us and then go do it. That way things will work out in the end for us."

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