John Thomas has the biggest workspace of any Penn State football coach.
His office is simple, about 20-by-20 feet that feels cramped. There are two desks as Thomas shares the room with a colleague.
But when Thomas steps through his doorway and out into Penn State's 13,000 square foot weight room, he's in his true domain.
Thomas, the football team's strength and conditioning coach, is in his 17th season with the Nittany Lions. Along the way, he has earned accolades and honors that have helped create his reputation as one of the best strength coaches in the country.
Thomas was named a Master of Strength and Conditioning Coach in 2002. At that time, only 26 people worldwide had the same distinction.
Penn State's strength coach got his start on the football field. Thomas was a four-year starter at offensive and defensive line for Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. His playing experience has helped him develop a rapport with current Penn State players.
Penn State linebacker Bani Gbadyu said Thomas' tough-love tactics don't always go over well with every player, but Thomas commands respect based on his experience.
"John Thomas, he's the man," Gbadyu said. "He's a real tough, hard-nosed, take no B.S. type of guy. He tells the truth. He knows everybody, what they're capable of, and he tries to bring the best out of you whether you like it or not."
Ask Thomas to define hard work and the stocky, short-haired coach pauses.
"When a guy comes in here, I want it all," Thomas says. "I want everything he can possibly give me on that day."
Thomas has learned over time to maximize the time he has with Penn State's players.
In the offseason, Thomas said, players are only allowed to work out for eight hours a week on team time. Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick said he got stronger last summer working with Thomas.
"The lifts that we have are pretty intense." Odrick said. "And you have to walk into a weight room and he'll let you know if he's upset with you or not satisfied with your effort."
During the season, Penn State players work out on Mondays and Thursdays with an optional lift on Sundays. Thomas recommends the Sunday lift.
Thomas is joined by Jeremy Scott, Penn State's speed development coach. Scott is in his 11th year at Penn State and has worked with numerous athletes to improve their speed and quickness.
One of Scott's most recent students was redshirt freshman tailback Stephfon Green.
Scott knew Green was fast when he came out of John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx, but knew from watching his running style he could be even faster.
"Stephfon Green was fast," Scott says. "But he didn't have the best form."
Green used his redshirt season in 2007 to train with Scott. Before last spring's Blue-White game, Green said his goal was to get his 40-yard dash time down to a 4.1.
Some players take time to adjust to the grueling training of a Division I football player. Thomas says players come in and are usually on their own for the first time with their only guidance being their coaches.
Penn State lineman Stefen Wisniewski has seen players have difficulties adjusting.
"I think everyone definitely believes in it now and they've seen results from the older guys, getting bigger, getting faster."
Thaqt's Thomas's favorite part of the job he says.
"Watching the progress guys make," Thomas says. "Where they are when they come in here and where they are when they leave."