Ole Miss DB Jake Springer ready to torpedo offenses this season
OXFORD, Miss. — When a young person accepts an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, he or she realizes upon graduating from Annapolis, their military assignment can range from being a submariner to a naval aviator.
A Midshipman must be a versatile individual to serve.
No one on the Ole Miss roster knows that better than defensive back Jake Springer.
The senior from Kansas City starred for two seasons at Navy, earning a starting position in 2019 on a Midshipmen team that finished 11-2 and beat Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. From his striker position, he was third on the team with 69 tackles, 39 of them solo, with 16 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
His best game came in a loss at Notre Dame where he had ten tackles— including a team-high eight solo stops — one for loss and a quarterback hurry.
Springer’s ability to serve made him a leader on special teams where he also returned kicks and punts for Navy. At Ole Miss, Springer is ready to man any battle station he is called upon to defend.
“Every guy in the room is playing multiple. We’re just trying to make our room be as versatile as possible,” Springer said after practice Saturday, but he knows the defense’s goal.
“Make plays. That’s our motto in our room. We’re the playmakers and just run around and play with as much effort and intensity as we can out there and help the defense win.”
Ole Miss DB Jake Springer
In his 25 games for Navy, Springer collected 105 total tackles, notched three forced fumbles, broke up six passes and had a pair of interceptions. He wants to bring an intensity to the Landshark defense as they head into the season opener against Louisville at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sept. 6.
“I’m coming with the same mindset every day since I got here,” Springer said, “I’m excited I get to see all those fans, and everybody come back and play in the Vaught. (I’m) itching to do that.”
Last season, the Ole Miss defense struggled, but improved toward the end season, playing its best game in the Rebels’ 26-20 victory over Indiana in the Outback Bowl. Springer believes more time in co-defensive coordinators’ D.J. Durkin and Chris Partridge’s defense will be on display this season.
“I think having a full year with the spring practice and also having a year, last year with the scheme, everyone is understanding and we’re able to get into the little details of our scheme and things like that. The defense is playing really close, playing really fast and physical and we’re just hungry to show people what we’ve got this year.”
Jake Springer on the defense: "Theres a lot of good things in our defensive future if we play together and keep the same momentum we've got right now."
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) August 14, 2021
A.J. Finley agrees with his crewmate in the Ole Miss secondary.
“We didn’t really have a good feeling of what we were doing last year, so it’s hard to go out and give it your all; you got to think about a lot of things,” Finley said after practice earlier this week. “But now we’re out there flying around and we know what we’ve got to do.”
Springer, Finley and the rest of the Rebels’ crew have a lofty goal of moving up the ranks as not only the best defense in the SEC, but in the country. Finley thinks the Landsharks have the military-type discipline to attain that goal.
“I want to be the best college football defense there is. So, if you don’t look at it like that, you’re never going to get there.”
Ole Miss DB A.J. Finley
Finley is a native of Mobile, Ala. That was the site of one of the most famous sayings in Naval history. At the Battle of Mobile Bay in the Civil War, Admiral David Farragut chose to have his ships charge the heavily-mined waters rather than halting their attack, ordering, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
That aggressiveness is what the Landshark defense looks to bring to the field this season.
(Feature image courtesy of Navy Football)
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.