Penn State’s winter workout sessions are underway in preparation for the upcoming 2018 football season. As fans begin to look at the key players Penn State has lost or gained since the Fiesta Bowl, Dwight Galt, assistant athletics director of performance enhancement for the Nittany Lions, is focusing on getting his team ready for spring ball.
Galt, who’s entering his fifth season coaching these winter workouts, keyed in on what the staff and players are looking forward to and what the team will need to build on before the fall season. He specifically addressed the team’s early enrollees, the challenging Penn State workout program, John Reid’s return, and Miles Sanders’ new role as a leader.
The Lions have welcomed six early enrollees — Micah Parsons, Nick Tarburton, Trent Gordon, Isaiah Humphries, Zack Kuntz, and Jesse Luketa — adding to the promise that the 2018 recruiting class showed from the start. According to Galt, the mid-years have been “phenomenal and earned the respect of being on the team.”
Galt said these players have been consistently motivated through winter workouts, which consist of a “very aggressive strength-power program in conjunction with an aggressive movement program.” To see these newcomers adjusting well to that program and to the training is a promising sign for the upcoming season.
“Less here than anywhere else, there always comes a time when you got to say, ‘It was a little flat today,'” Galt said. “I just haven’t had one of those days all year.”
The team has taken well to these winter workouts, which begin at 4 a.m. with movement training in Holuba Hall and continue the next day with strength training in the Lasch Building. The team so far has undergone fifteen movement trainings and fifteen strength trainings. Galt noted that, where many programs focus on lifting in the winter, Penn State still looks to keep its guys moving. And that means lots of running. At least there are some great videos to come out of all of this work:
Galt said the team has done a great job at bouncing back every day and working through each and every workout. One of the key aspects of this year’s team is consistency.
“This won’t do you any good at all if you don’t sleep right, if you don’t eat right, and if you don’t take care of your body,” Galt said, noting the nutritional plans his players must follow to maximize their offseason work.
James Franklin’s major signee in this recruiting class was Micah Parsons, the five-star defensive end from Harrisburg, PA. Now on campus, he’s adjusting well, and Galt believes he has agility, flexibility, strength, and power that will be a great addition to the team. But most importantly in the eyes of the strength and conditioning coach, he has a great attitude when it comes to training.
“One of things that Micah did, that when you come up here the stars disappear. He came in and did a great job and the older players have been great mentors for him,” Galt said. “Instead of being the five-star guy, sixth ranked kid in the country, he became one of the guys. You would never know by the way he acts. He works just like everybody else. He has fit in really well. It has really been a pleasure training him.”
After coaching the previous four winter workout seasons, Dwight Galt said this season is the best winter workout season the team has had so far. John Reid, who has recently recovered from rehabilitation from last season’s injury, is also impressing the staff. Galt says he’s ten weeks out and has been phenomenal in and outside of training.
“You know how John is — Jon’s going to grind in everything he does. He’s been phenomenal, he’s been back doing a lot stuff with a really high-rate of speed outside, been great in the weight room, so it’s really good to have him back,” Galt said.
When Reid talks, Galt explained, everybody stops to listen. That’s the sort of presence he brings to the team.
Now that Saquon Barkley’s off to compete in the NFL, Miles Sanders will likely take over as the main man in the backfield. He certainly has big shoes to fill, but Galt has noticed great signs coming out of the junior tailback. Barkley’s presence around the team was unmistakable, but Sanders has done a great job stepping into his role.
“[Miles] is a special kid. We feel really good about what Miles Sanders brings us on the football field, but especially off the field,” Galt said. “The second we started in January, Miles stepped right up and became a leader.”
If Galt’s comments are any indication, the Nittany Lions look promising for the upcoming season. The coaching staff is certainly excited to see how the team will perform in the fall. You can catch the Nittany Lions in action during the annual Blue-White scrimmage on April 21.