ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – Entering his second year as Escanaba Football head coach, Baily Lamb is looking for major strides from his team after finishing 2-7 in 2022.

“We kind of believe in our process and the stuff we kind of implemented last year, now we’re kind of in full swing,” said Lamb. “The kids are in a lot better of a routine and they’re a lot more comfortable with our expectations and the points we want to drive home. We’re starting to see it show up after a second year of it.”

Coach Lamb says he’s noticing a change in the team’s overall attitude early in camp.

“Just playing fast and getting after it,” said Lamb. “The energy has been awesome. Kids are having fun and they’re learning really fast. Yeah, they’re just excited to be out here and the energy has been unbelievable.”

“The team is rallying together,” said senior Connor Royer. “You know, there’s not been as much complaining from the team. Coach is doing a good job keeping us in check. They want excellence and we’re trying to provide that.”

A big message coach Lamb has been preaching in practice has been a focus on improvement.

“Just always improving every single day,” said Lamb. “If you can improve every single day and that’s going to translate on the field and even outside of football. Good things happen when you’re trying to work on yourself. So, just kind of maintaining that message of self-improvement.”

“Just sharpen up,” said Royer. “We have to sharpen up a lot. Just get the little things down and refine a lot. We want every little detail to be perfect.”

That improvement starts with getting back into playing shape.

“Doing a lot of extra individual work and just kind of refining our skills and getting better at that,” said Lamb. “We got a lot to install for both offense and defense, but that’ll come as we go.”

In order for the Eskymos to have a bounce back year, they will have to replace a lot of production from last season.

“We had a lot of help last year,” said Lamb. “We had a lot of seniors. We had our quarterback, Casey Bray, he threw a ton last year. We had a lot of production from a lot of our receivers last year that are all graduated. We had a couple of starting lineman also take off too. So, we’re excited for the new guys coming in.”

Despite the departures, Lamb says he’s confident with who he has returning to step into the leadership roles.

“I think we have an incredible senior group,” said Lamb. “They’re all really close and they’re a lot of fun and they all work their tails off. So, I think leadership is our biggest thing.”

One senior who is primed for a big year is senior running back Ben Johnson. Johnson is a Michigan Tech commit and is ready to end his high school career on a high note.

“I’m definitely trying to step into that leadership role,” said Johnson. “I’ve had many kids from the last two years take me under their belt when I was young. So, it’s my turn now to do that. I think we’re going to be able to run the ball a bit better this year and I’m excited for that. I think our defense is going to be a lot quicker to the ball. We had some issues with that last year but hopefully when back come on we can fix that and I think we’re going to. I want it to be completely different. I want to be known as a hard working group of boys and I want to be a good team, obviously.”

Johnson and the rest of the Eskymos will open up their season at home against Calumet on August 25th.