Strong, tough part of Galt’s new plan

UNIVERSITY?PARK?- The three flat-screen televisions overlooking the weight room in the Lasch Building flashed a simple message.

“Who really is the hardest working team in the country???”

At first glance, all of the letters were in white, but on a closer look, gray letters in different words spelled out “We Are.”

That’s exactly what new director of performance enhancement – commonly known as the strength and conditioning coach – Dwight Galt wants to bring to Penn State.

Galt, the mentor of former strength coach Craig Fitzgerald, wants to make the Nittany Lions the “hardest working team in the country,” hoping that will translate into success on the field.

“We don’t want anybody to be our peer in that area,” Galt told the media on Penn State’s final days of winter workouts Monday. “That’s what we always strive for.”

Much like Fitzgerald, Galt has a similar dead weight, no-machine philosophy as noticed by no major changes in the “basement” as he affectionately referred to the workout area inside Lasch.

Fitzgerald and Galt worked together while Fitzgerald was the assistant director of strength and condition at Maryland, joining the staff in 2000. There, Galt served as Fitzgerald’s superior as director of strength and conditioning from 1993 to 2011.

While Fitzgerald left for Harvard in 2005, Galt stayed on at College Park, and when James Franklin became coach at Vanderbilt in 2011, Galt followed.

Galt said he and Fitzgerald have remained strong friends throughout the years since the two went different paths.

Those same values have made it an easy transition for him as well as Penn State.

“I think it’s been a real good transition for the kids,” Galt said. “There have been a few little different touches that we do, but that’s good. Change in that way is good. For the most part, it’s the same basic philosophy.”

The one thing Galt said he’d like to see more of is talking and support in while in the weight room. He said he noticed that Penn State has a quiet, hard working mentality, and while that is OK to him, he, along with Franklin, would like to see more talking while in the room.

Galt did notice some immediate improvement in the vocal leadership department from several Lions including wide receiver Matt Zanellato, quarterback Christan Hackenberg, cornerback Jordan Lucas, defensive tackle Austin Johnson and tackle Donovan Smith.

Penn State will wrap up its winter workouts this week with testing. On Monday, the Lions tested both the 40-yard dash as well as the bench press. Tuesday, Galt plans to have the team tested on movement-based drills like the shuttle run, broad jump and vertical jump as well as the power clean.

The Lions will wrap up practice with squats on Wednesday.

During the summer workouts, the team will lift three times a week with football mixed in on Wednesday, while running four times.

One of Galt’s staples will be making sure the Lions remain strong in the second and fourth quarters, noting “anybody can perform at a high level when they are fresh.”

He would like to see Penn State remain strong throughout the entire game.

“We are going to do everything we can off the field to prepare them for that feeling so they can still perform at a very high level even though they feel that way,” Galt said.

For Galt, a Maryland alum, the transition has been easy as well to Penn State life. However, his wife, Janice, is still in Nashville, Tenn., where Vanderbilt is located. Though, Galt does have his son Dwight Galt IV alongside assisting him in the room.

“I bleed blue right now,” Galt said. “It’s kind of difficult, you give your heart and soul to place for three years. It’s kind of hard. I talked to the guys about it one time, that’s it . No more reference to that. It’s time to move on and go with the blue and white.”

While it appeared that Galt had a high emotion level in the workout open to the media on Monday like Fitzgerald, Galt can’t promise he will be in Fitzgerald’s trademark shorts and t-shirt in late November games.

“I started getting cold so I stopped to doing it.”