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Penn State Football: Galt Thrilled To Take Over Strength Program

by on January 27, 2014 2:00 PM

His goal was to learn everyone's name by Monday. So it's test time for Penn State's newest strength and conditioning coach Dwight Galt.

Galt, yet another hold over from the Franklin era at Vanderbilt brings a "Yoda" like quality to the team according to head coach James Franklin. He offers an open door policy -- lending an ear to a player needing to vent or a coach looking to bounce ideas off of a colleague. Galt is probably the quietest coach on the staff, but his silence commands the respect of everyone around him. 

On the field, Galt has worked with just shy of 40 NFL players and trained tight end Vernon Davis, receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and cornerback Dominique Foxworth. Davis and Heyward- Bey rank among the Top 10 all-time performers at the combine. Davis clocked the fastest 40-yard dash ever by a tight end (4.36) and Heyward-Bey ran the fastest 40 (4.30) by a receiver in the past decade.

Galt is in a unique position. As head of player development, he can work with student athletes more than any other coach on the staff. So the relationship is key. During the offseason Galt is one of the few coaches allowed to work with players according to the NCAA rules.

While James Franklin might be the leader of the band, Galt fills an equally important role. Former strength coach Craig Fitzgerald's bond with former Nittany Lion Allen Robinson was one of the main reasons Robinson did not leave during the open transfer period. So while Galt may hold a role that is generalized as weights and sweat, he is in a critical position -- able to shape the chemistry of the team. In short, the better the team likes Galt the better off the team will be.

"The thing for me is to know all of the names by Monday," Galt said on Friday. "All 96 of the guys. Because without names I can't begin to build relationships with them and being able to move forward. So that's very important. I'm with the kids a lot more than the coaches."

The good news for Galt is that he is walking into an almost new weight room with players well accustomed to how the facilities work. While Galt needed to retool the program at Vanderbilt he hasn't had to change a thing and doesn't plan to while at Penn State.

"To walk into this situation, maybe the best weight room in the country and to have these guys well trained for the past two years. It's like I've died and gone to Heaven. I can't say enough how nice of a factor that is for me being here."

Another bonus? His son is already on the conditioning staff and has been throughout the O'Brien era. So both of them it's a special chance to work together.

"It's a dream come true," Galt says. "Craig Fitzgerald did a great job mentoring him and turning him into a great strength coach and it got to a point where they relied on him and that's just something I'm really proud of. It's awesome to have him here and he has been an unbelievable help."

And as far as music staying at workouts?

"It'll be there," Galt says smiling. "But they have to earn it first, but I have no doubt they will." 

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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