Winning, team come first for WVU’s Spain
MORGANTOWN – The preseason honors have certainly piled up for Quinton Spain.
The West Virginia redshirt senior offensive lineman was named to both the Rotary Lombardi (nation’s best lineman or linebacker) and Outland Trophy (nation’s best interior lineman) watch lists as he enters his final season.
Not that any of that matters to the 6-foot-5, 332-pound guard.
“I don’t pay attention to all that stuff,” he said. “I’m just trying to win games and do what’s best for the team. All that stuff comes later.”
Spain is the most reliable – if not the most important – part to a Mountaineers offensive line that looks much improved compared to last season.
The Petersburg, Va., native started all 12 games last season and 25 straight, the most of any lineman, for the Mountaineers. He was tabbed as an honorable mention selection by the Big 12 coaches at the end of last season.
In those 25 games, Spain has spent time at every position along the o-line.
He played guard when he first arrived at West Virginia before he was moved to right tackle. He spent time at left tackle last season and will begin this season a left guard, a spot he’ll most likely stay in.
“I know every position,” he said. “It’s just a matter of switching up my technique.”
Quarterback Clint Trickett believes the switch to guard is not only the best move for Spain, but for the entire offensive line.
“You saw it was a better position for him personally,” Trickett said. “I think everyone where they’re at, especially that first unit, is where they should be for our personnel.”
He’s not the only one.
Talk to any lineman and they’ll tell you this is the best line WVU has fielded during Holgorsen’s tenure.
“We trust each other more,” center Tyler Orlosky said. “Last year we had two guys that would rotate in and out. When you have that, you lose conformity. Conformity along the offensive line is much better. We became more of a unit.”
All members of the line – left tackle Adam Pankey, right guard Mark Glowinski, right tackle Marquis Lucas along with Spain and Orlosky – have started at least one or two games each during their career.
“That’s a relief off my shoulders,” Trickett said. “Literally.”
While Spain might be the more popular guard, Trickett noted it won’t take long for Glowinski to get some national attention as well.
“When Mark got here, he’s strong as a bull,” he said. “He’s big as one. He’s sneaky athletic. He can actually jump, believe it or not. He does everything right. Just like all the guys. Mark’s going to surprise some people.”
Not only has the line grown continuity with Trickett during the offseason, but with the running backs as well. With four solid backs, West Virginia will rely on a strong running game this season, something it hasn’t done during the past few years.
“When I came in as a freshman, we had three NFL players preform pretty well in the passing game,” Orlosky said. “The running game wasn’t as important as it is now. Now I think we’ll rely on the run game because of the fact the offensive line is playing better as a unit. There’s tremendous talent at running back.”
As with any lineman, you won’t find Orlosky complaining about having to run block. Well, most of the time.
“After awhile you get tired. You want a pass to be in there somewhere,” he said. “But there’s nothing better than run blocking and driving someone to the ground.”