Jake Springer is Key Piece of Ole Miss Defense’s Rise
As a Key Piece to the Ole Miss Defense, Jake Springer Has Sprung
OXFORD, Miss. — In just three games this season, safety Jake Springer has notched 17 total tackles, nine solo and 8 assists. The Navy transfer also has one tackle for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery.
Although Springer missed four games due to injury earlier this season, head coach Lane Kiffin has left no doubt as to the importance of Springer’s presence for the defense.
“Well, he’s just a really good player that makes a lot of plays, and I think that he kind of brings the defense up just like the play at Tennessee,” Kiffin explained.
“They respond to him like a quarterback or great middle linebacker. That helps — he’s kind of like Matt (Corral) on offense. Players feed off him.”
Lane Kiffin on Jake Springer
Stats on Springer’s Impact
To dive deeper into how much of an impact Springer makes while on the field, we examined the statistics thus far this season.
Without Springer on the field, the Ole Miss defense is allowing 32.8 points per game. With the Kansas City, Missouri native, the Rebels are giving up just 21.7 points per game.
And also from a yardage standpoint, Ole Miss is much better when he is on the field. When the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Springer has not played, the defense is giving up 203.3 rushing yards per game. With him in the lineup, the defense has given up only 151.3 rushing yards per game.
Without Springer, players in the secondary were forced to play positions they did not play in fall camp, so a healthy Springer on the field is definitely an important piece of the puzzle.
Springer also brings a great deal of versatility to the Rebels’ defense. Before coming to Ole Miss, he played striker at Navy. The striker position is a hybrid between linebacker and safety, and although he is listed as a defensive back for Ole Miss, he is playing all over the field.
In his three games this season, Springer has played 169 total snaps on defense. For 15 percent of those snaps, he has lined up on the defensive line outside of offensive tackles. Thirty-nine percent of his snaps were lined up inside the box, while 34% came lined up at free safety, nine percent lined up in the slot and two percent at cornerback.
Springer was recently asked what he likes playing better, the back end of the defense or close to the line of scrimmage. “I like them both,” he said.
“I told (defensive coordinator) Coach Partridge I miss the perimeter, that’s what I played previously (at Navy). Getting a little taste of that, I was playing a lot of middle field and stuff, what they needed for the Louisville game. That’s just a part of our versatility…we’re all able to move around. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of guys moving around and being in different positions in the back end. But, I like them both; I can play either.”
(Feature image: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)