April 8, 2014

Massive Expectations

West Virginia redshirt senior guards Mark Glowinski and Quinton Spain each stand at six-foot-five while combining to weigh 648 pounds. Between Glowinski and Spain there are 26 total starts. The two create an experienced and physically imposing guard combo.

There is an expectation from the top down for these Glowinski and Spain to have success this season.

"This season, they can potentially be dominating guards," said WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen.

En route to getting to a stage in each of their careers where they can be dominate both took extremely different paths.

Spain was a US Army All-American in High School while Glowinski was under recruited player destined for junior college.

Glowinski enrolled at Lackawanna CCollege and Spain was a freshman at WVU in 2010. Eventually Spain played tackle in a backup role on WVU's Orange Bowl team in 2011 and at the same time Glowinski was a junior college second team All-American.

The Wilkes-Barre native, Glowinski arrived and was redshirted for the 2012 season; Spain was the full time starter at left tackle for the Mountaineers' inaugural season in the Big 12.

After the 2012 season is where the path began to narrow.

Ron Crook was hired as the offensive line coach following the departure of Bill Bedenbaugh. Crook completely changed the way the WVU offensive line played the game. He ran power, something that only Glowinski was familiar with.

"We ran a lot of it at Lackawanna," said Glowinski. "We ran power, we had pulls so it wasn't that much of a learning transition for me because I already had that background."

The former junior college star knew he had a chance to make an impact because of the scheme change.

"Honestly I did, when the coaches asked me to do it, I just jumped in and did well," Glowinski explained.

Unlike Glowinski, Spain never ran power during his football life. He adjusted well especially after moving from tackle to guard a few games into the 2013 season.

"I had never run power before, but when Coach Crook came first came here, I thought I could be good at it because I'm powerful and can pull," said Spain. "It was a win-win situation for me."

After the 2013 season many believed Spain would move onto the NFL, but he elected to stay in Morgantown to take care of unfinished business.

Now entering a season where the combo is expected to be great, this spring the two have been asked by Holgorsen and Crook to avoid complacency. There is a major gap between Spain, Glowinski and the backups, so there is not a position battle for the two to go through.

Simply Spain and Glowinski have turned to each other.

"Everything he does, I try to do better and everything I do he tries to do better. We push each other," Spain said.

Additionally, Glowinski has become one of the vocal leaders of the offensive line. He is using his football smarts prior to the snap to help Spain and the three others around them.

"I think football intelligence wise, Glowinski, has a pretty high IQ level," said Crook. "The thing that he's great at is seeing what a defense is doing before they do it. As the defense starts to move a little bit, he anticipates it really good."

As for Spain, he just wants to be able to be the best on the field each and every down.

"I'm more consistent. Last year I wasn't consistent, so this year I'm just focused on being more consistent," said Spain.

Spain and Glowinski are determined to better the team. This spring has proven they want to backup the notion of being an elite guard combo nationally as well as helping WVU get back to a bowl game.

"They are determined and hungry for success," said Crook.

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