MORGANTOWN - That Quinton Spain played the entire second half of West Virginia's 21-20 win over Pitt Friday night was not a shock to anyone. The redshirt freshman had been given several opportunities to play during the season as the first backup at every offensive line position except center.
So Spain replaced Tyler Rader at right guard after a first half in which quarterback Geno Smith was sacked three times and the Mountaineers rushed for minus-2 yards. Again, no surprise that he would replace someone. It was just a question of who.
"We tell everybody that they're going to be held accountable for what they do and if they're not playing well, we're going to replace them,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We had some issues with a couple of the guys up front. If you're not performing, we're going to put somebody else in there.''
But while Spain's insertion into the lineup was not out of the ordinary, another change up front was. Right tackle Pat Eger was pulled in favor of sophomore Curtis Feigt.
It was a shock even to Feigt, whose first reaction was this:
"Oh, crap,'' he said.
That lasted only a second or so, though.
"Pretty quickly I settled down and thought, 'OK, let's get ready to go,'" Feigt said.
For the record, Feigt didn't come out of nowhere to play right tackle for the entire second half of West Virginia's biggest game of the season against its most bitter rival. He did, however, come from a couple of unusual places - Germany and the defensive line.
When Feigt arrived at WVU in the summer of 2009, he had been in the United States for only a short time. He played two seasons at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania after learning the sport in his native Berlin by playing flag football as a youngster. He didn't play contact football until he was 15.
And when he did begin using what has now grown into a 6-foot-6, 300-pound frame with pads and all, it was as a defensive lineman.
But after spending his first two seasons trying to work his way through a crowded group of defensive linemen, he was asked last winter to give the offensive line a chance. He agreed and found himself in the mix at right tackle with a new offensive line coach and a new system.