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Legursky's NFL draft day could be a snap

Fellow Marshall alum Bartrum tutors current hopeful in specialized skill
Mar. 11, 2008 @ 12:21 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Doug Legursky has realized true appreciation for one of football's most overlooked skills.

Yes, the powerful offensive lineman had dabbled in long snapping, but it never was a full-time venture. Now working to expand his National Football League resume, Legursky can offer himself as a proven center and guard and at least a capable snapper.

To that end, Legursky has called on a fellow former Marshall University standout for tutelage. Mike Bartrum, an all-time Thundering Herd tight end who enjoyed more than a decade of NFL long-snapping, is instructing Legursky in preparation for the April NFL Draft.

"Bartrum is working with me and it's getting better every day," Legursky said. "It adds something else to my arsenal."

Legursky, a four-year starter at Marshall, primarily played at center, but injuries occasionally shifted the Beckley native to guard. He never long-snapped at Marshall, but worked on the specialized skill during practice.

Long-snapping now is part of Legursky's weekly routine. Bartrum, long regarded as the NFL's top long-snapper, is coaching Legursky.

Bartrum was the league's highest-paid snapper before retiring in 2007.

"It's good," Bartrum said of the training. "He's learning how to snap. I told him when they come in to work you, you can tell them you can snap.

"When they see you, they know you're at least trying to do it. And he's getting better."

It hasn't been a seamless process. Key to a successful snapping career is consistency; the best long-snappers are anonymous, but one mistake and you're known for regrettable reasons.

Legursky has been quick to recognize the subtleties of a thankless position.

"They're clearly artists on the field," Legursky said. "It doesn't come natural for me. That's for sure but I want to be that (consistent snapper). To be at that position you have to be perfect every time, and I give big credit to them.

"To be a long-snapper it takes a lot of work."

Legursky praises Bartrum, saying "he explains things very well that are hard to explain."

On March 21, Legursky will display his varying abilities at Marshall's Pro Day. Numerous NFL scouts will attend and could follow up with invitations for individual workouts at team sites.

Legursky's strength and athleticism at 6-foot-3 and 311 pounds aren't questioned. He's been timed at 4.79 seconds in the 40-yard dash and totaled 36 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press. He's considered a late-round or free agent prospect. A sound long-snapping performance could prove pivotal.

"Workout-wise, he's strong," Bartrum said. "He's strong. He's pretty athletic. He can move.

"He just needs a shot. He gets a shot and he can get in there and prove himself, he'll be fine."

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