Mitch Vingle: A WVU secret that simply Glows
ATLANTA — If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you in on a couple secrets.
The first has been blowing around WVU’s football team for a while now.
You know how Quinton Spain has universally been recognized as the Mountaineers’ top offensive lineman?
Well, that’s probably not the case.
It’s probably guard Mark Glowinski. He’s worked himself into a nice NFL prospect. And by “worked” I mean hard, physical labor in the weight room.
“Physically, I’ve always been strong,” Glowinski said this week. “But I’ve put on some good weight and muscle. My first year [at Lackawanna College] I weighed about 270 pounds. Then it was 290 pounds. Now I’m at 310 and moving the same as I always did. My lower body is where it shows.”
Ditto in the film room. The lineman might not, well, glow in the dark, but he has to jump out at Alabama’s coaches preparing for Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. And if WVU has any chance at all, Glowinski, 6-foot-5, will have to do more than stand tall.
Bet on at least that happening. The Crimson Tide is loaded with 5-star players across the board. As I covered in Wednesday’s column, the team has 14 5-star players and 50 4-star kids. WVU has no 5-star recruits, according to services, and seven of the 4-star ilk.
Also, there is no place on Alabama’s team more dominated with 5-star players than along the defensive front. Glowinski, though, is a former 3-star junior college transfer who has transformed himself into a 5-star kid.
His story in short-hand: Glowinski, now a redshirt senior, grew up in Wilkes-Barre, which is in eastern Pennsylvania. After high school, he moved 20 minutes away to Lackawanna, where he played for Mark Duda, a former Maryland and St. Louis Cardinal defensive lineman. (Duda still holds the Terrapin record for most sacks in a season with 13.)
Duda, however, also had experience with offensive linemen. His star pupil was Bryant McKinnie, who went to Miami (Fla.) and then earned a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens.
“McKinnie and a few others went there,” Glowinski said. “I’d always been a ‘U’ fan and watched [McKinnie] when [the Hurricanes] won a  national championship.
“Coach Duda always compared us, our mind sets. I watched him at Baltimore and with Miami [Dolphins].”
The study has paid off. Glowinski has developed into both a strong pass and run blocker. WVU took notice.
“WVU was never a team I thought I’d be at,” said the lineman. “Late in high school, though, and then in my freshman year in [junior] college, I saw them on TV. I enjoyed watching them because they gained a lot of yards.”
Now, since moving to Morgantown, Glowinski has gained a lot of confidence.
“Most of it is mental,” he said. “How fronts and linebackers move. How this offense works. It’s not just forcing the ball in different gaps.”
Oh, yeah. That other secret? It comes from the lineman. Here’s his advice to Mountaineer fans in regard to Saturday’s game.
“You should be watching the trenches,” Glowinski said, “and all the work getting done there.”
WVU, the guard said, is ready.
“We’ve been fired up and focused,” he said. “We have to make sure we get this win this weekend.”
And it’s not a topic that just came up.
“We’ve been working hard,” Glowinski said. “We’ve been talking about Alabama for a long time.”
How will he fare against those 5-star Crimson Tide defensive linemen?
“I feel if I just stay mentally focused, there won’t be any issues,” Glowinski said.
Just don’t tell anyone.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.