Bure wants to make a bigger splash

Published 12:15 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

STARKVILLE — In the box score, Marvin Bure didn’t even get credit for it. On the Gator Bowl highlight packages, it was overlooked amidst the avalanche of touchdowns Mississippi State piled up on Michigan.

That’s what moms are for.

In Bure’s house, the clip of his deflected punt early in State’s 52-14 win last January plays on an endless loop.

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“When I got home, that’s all they were talking about. My mom recorded it on DVR and showed it to me every time I get home. My mom, my sister and everybody,” the former Vicksburg High standout said with a laugh.

Because the ball traveled past the line of scrimmage, Bure didn’t get credit for a blocked punt. It was fitting for a player entering his third season as a starter on Mississippi State’s special teams.

Despite being a veteran on that unit, he’s toiled in relative obscurity. The blocked punt was a rare highlight in a career mostly spent sprinting up the field on fourth down.

In 2009, Bure had three tackles in four games. Last season he made six tackles and recovered a fumble in 12 games.

By comparison, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod had two tackles in 2009 and quarterback Chris Relf made three in 2010.

“My first priority is special teams. I love special teams. I try to get the young guys on special teams,” Bure said, adding of the lack of reocgnition, “It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s for the team. Everybody has their role, like all the coaches say.”

Bure has played in 16 games the past two seasons, including 12 last year. He’s seen some action as a defensive back, but is primarily used as the gunner — the outside coverage man — on punt and kickoff returns.

It’s a rough job. The gunner is often double-teamed and driven as far away from the returner as possible.

“It’s tough. There’s more than one way you can get knocked out. So you’ve got to have that mindset like you’re going to give it. You’re going to get knocked out regardless. You’re going to win sometimes and you’re going to lose sometimes,” Bure said.

Now entering his third and final season in Starkville, Bure said he’s tried to take more of a leadership role with the Bulldogs’ special teams.

“Coach Mullen always looks at me when we’re doing a punt drill because he knows I know what to do and I’m trying to get the other guys to do it right,” Bure said. “Not that I’m above anybody, but I feel like I know what’s going on in the scheme and the system. I feel better directing the other guys and knowing how to do it right by running fast and breaking during all the drills.”

As much as he enjoys playing on special teams, Bure is looking forward to taking a larger role on the defense this season. His playing time at cornerback increased during the spring. Although he’s likely to still be a backup behind several other veterans, Bure believes he’ll get a few more chances on non-kicking plays.

It’s a new challenge, and one that almost knocks him back to rookie status. Bure said, however, that he’s ready for it.

“I know the defense in and out. It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s like finally getting a chance,” Bure said.