The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

April 3, 2011

HERTZEL COLUMN: Spain makes gains after weight loss

MORGANTOWN — Quinton Spain is a shadow of his former self.

At 348 pounds, however, do not worry that the West Virginia University tackle might die of malnutrition or suffer a vitamin deficiency, but the lad is really working hard on his weight.

You might remember hearing of him last year when he came out of high school in Virginia as the biggest addition to the WVU campus since they built Mountaineer Field. The plans were to redshirt him, if they could find one his size.

I don’t want to say he’s big, but they almost had to list him as left tackle … and left guard. A defensive end could make a fortune if they would pay him just 50 cents a mile to try and go around him all game rushing the quarterback.

As the late, great Los Angeles columnist Jim Murray once wrote about the 6-foot, 7-inch baseball player Frank Howard, Spain is “so big he wasn’t born, he was founded.”

And that’s now, at that svelte 348 pounds.

See, last August, before that redshirt season, Spain showed up showed up with 370 pounds rather amply over his 6-foot, 5-inch frame. He was so big then that when he smiled his dimples had dimples.

The man didn’t have a waist. He had a circumference.

“I was at home. I wasn’t working out. All I did was eat,” he said after practice on Friday.

And you can imagine, there wasn’t any orders for “small fries” with that triple Whopper.

The Mountaineers were somewhat aghast when they saw him, weigh in at more than double the weight of running back Tavon Austin, so they turned a nutritionist on him.

“I talked to my nutrition lady and she told me I had to work out more and eat less,” he said. “She told me no fried food. Eat lite. Don’t drink soda and juice, drink water and milk.”

It was a good thing that didn’t get out or the stock in Coke and Minute Maid would have crashed immediately.

Spain wanted to play, though, and was diligent in his effort to lose weight.

“It was hard to adjust to at first, but if I want to play I have to do it,” he said.

As hard as it is to imagine, Spain was not always the biggest kid on the block. In fact, when you ask him about it, a warm smile crosses his face.

“You won’t believe it. I played running back, quarterback when I was a little kid,” he said. “I played skill positions. Then, when I got to middle school, I played tight end and D-end. At high school I started playing offensive line.”

Rex Harrison might have put it this way: “The gain in Spain caused defensive linemen pain.”

Kids sometimes are mocked when they are different from their peers, but Spain says there wasn’t any time where he had to police anyone’s attitude toward him.

“I’m not a fighter. I stay to myself most of the time,” he said.

Now, though, he is built along the lines of Nate Newton, once of the Dallas Cowboys, and his sights on the NFL. But first there’s the matter of winning a job at West Virginia.

Last year was difficult on him. An NCAA Clearing House issue delayed his start at practice.

“It was rough, coming in late. I had to catch up on a lot of things. When I was playing scout team, I wasn’t meeting with the regular team so I lost all that,” he said.

But, as he became accustomed to what he was doing and began dropping some of the 40 pounds he had gained since high school, he began displaying the strength and surprising speed and agility that he has.

He remains behind last year’s starter, Don Barclay, but is benefitting from getting reps as Barclay misses spring as his surgically repaired shoulder heals.

“Now, with the new people in here, it’s 50-50. Anyone can win a starting spot,” he said.

Email Bob Hertzel at

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos