WVU lineman Spain hopes less weight means better play
There is less of West Virginia guard Quinton Spain, but he still is hard to miss.
“He's a large person,” center Tyler Orlosky said. “That's the first thing you see.”
A fifth-year senior, Spain reported to camp in top shape thanks to an arduous conditioning program. He is listed at 6-foot-5, 332 pounds, 10 pounds lighter than his listed weight going into spring practice.
“He's slimmed down some,” offensive line coach Ron Crook said. “It's hard to say that about a guy who weighs 330 pounds, but he did a great job.”
Spain said he “feels a lot different.”
“I needed to cut down weight and be in better shape so I could stay on the field longer,” he said.
The offensive line was not an area of strength as the Mountaineers went 4-8 in 2013. Depth remains an issue, but Crook, in his second season on the WVU staff, said he “feels good” about the five starters.
Spain is the leader and the most veteran presence. The two-year starter is a preseason candidate for the Lombardi and Outland awards.
“He has the physical attributes to be a great NFL lineman,” said Orlosky, a sophomore who started three games at guard in 2013. “He's a very athletic player for his size. You see a guy who can run as fast as he can, you're thinking, ‘Wow, this guy can run pretty good.' His strength is unbelievable. Very strong upper body and lower body.”
Spain has come full circle on the line. He began at WVU as a guard, moved to right tackle and then left tackle, his primary position in 2012. He switched back to guard last season and thrived.
“The thing that I think suits him inside is that he's so thick and so powerful and so explosive,” Crook said. “When you're blocking on the defensive tackle or the nose guard, obviously you need those things.”
An outstanding basketball player at Petersburg (Va.) High School, Spain has “great quickness,” Crook said.
“You have a body like that pulling through the hole, that's intimidating to any linebacker,” Orlosky said.
Spain said he is accustomed to change at this point. He is playing for his third offensive line coach.
“I had three different coaches, and I learned three different techniques and all that stuff,” he said. “It was good and bad. I really wanted one coach. But I handled it pretty good. I'm versatile. I can do it.”
Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.