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October 8, 2019

Will Fries

University Park, Pennsylvania

Q. Five games in, curious how you would evaluate your investment. Do you feel like you're at a different level than in the past? And Rasheed Walker, through his first five starts, how has he held his own?
WILL FRIES: Rasheed's done a great job. I saw yesterday he was fun of the PFF tackles of the week. Just a testament to him, how much he's worked and put into this off-season and how hard he's worked. Really played a great game against Purdue overall. He's got a lot more in the tank to keep playing better.

I would say for myself, feel like I'm playing well so far and try to keep getting better every week.

Q. James was talking about the respect you guys have for Iowa's defensive ends. What have you seen from them?
WILL FRIES: Yeah, definitely got a lot of respect for those guys. They play really hard. They are coached up really well. They play with just a high effort and high motor every play. It's not something you can relax on. You have to be aware for multiple moves from both of them. Just things like that, that they are coached up to do. They fill their gaps. It's about us doing our responsibility as well as they are doing theirs.

Q. I believe it was your second career start at Iowa in 2017. What do you remember about just Kinnick Stadium, the experience there and how you were able to win at the end?
WILL FRIES: Yeah, the first thing is, it's loud. I mean, I think anyone that's been there knows how passionate those fans are and how great of an atmosphere it is. I think they are doing their blackout or whatever they are doing. We are expecting a great atmosphere again and really just a memorable experience under those lights, first Big Ten play. I'm excited to go back there and play there again.

Q. I asked Franklin about Adisa Isaac and his development, and what does he present as a challenge based on raw skill and from a tackle's perspective when you got him coming off the edge?
WILL FRIES: Yeah, he's grown a lot through his time here. He's going to be a really -- got to watch out for in the years coming but you've seen him Mick some plays so far. Just as a tackle, he has a good blend of size and speed and for a tackle, that's tough because you can't really pick one thing to hone in on.

As he keeps developing, he's going to be a danger. It's fun to go against him and compete against him and he's done a great job so far.

Q. We've seen a little bit of Caedan Wallace. What can you tell us about him and maybe the physical presence he brings as a true freshman? A lot of kids have to come in and bulk up, but looks like he came in pretty ready to play?
WILL FRIES: Like you said, that's the first thing you notice about him. He's 6-5, 325, 330, whatever it is, he's a big, impressive dude.

He works really hard in the weight room during the summer. I think that's one of the biggest things for him. He has that work ethic. Just as a player, he needs to keep developing, learning the techniques and learning the playbook. He's been really impressive so far and I'm excited to see him in the future.

Q. It looks like he's probably going to be able to redshirt. How much of a bonus is that for an offensive lineman to not necessarily be needed as a true freshman, to be able to go through the weight program and learn and do all that stuff?
WILL FRIES: Yeah, that redshirt year is huge because you get all the extra lifts and time to develop and learn from the older guys.

My redshirt year I was able to learn from guys like Nelson and Mann and that was one of the most beneficial things for me, seeing how they prepare for every game and learning how to play in the Big Ten and things like that. That redshirt year is big and I think it will pay dividends.

Q. I wanted to ask you about true freshmen, Noah Cain. When did you first know that he was going to be a good player for you guys when were you first impressed by him; that he really can you tell your eye?
WILL FRIES: I would say it was during summer workout. I don't remember exactly when, but sometime in those summer workout, you see him pop off-line in those sprints. He's an incredibly hard worker. I saw him getting extra work outs in and things like that, and that's when you know, okay, this guy has got something here.

Along with Devyn, too. They have both done a great job, and you really notice just in the summer how hard they work and things like that; that they are going to be big-time players this year.

Q. You've had some pretty close games against Iowa the last two years. How important is it going to be as an offensive line to control the line of scrimmage this week?
WILL FRIES: Yeah, that's what this game is all about is those O-line, D-line matchups. That's something they pride themselves on and something we pride ourselves on is being a physical team, playing with great technique and kind of combining those two things to really win the game up front. It's something as an O-line that we are taking a ton of pride in this year and especially for this game.

Q. I know you approach each week the same way and the games the same way, but knowing you are going to play somewhere that's cool, how does that change, not your approach, but like your mental side of things, when you are at the game, you're going, is this going to be fun, I'm looking forward to this. How much of that goes on on a week like this?
WILL FRIES: Kind of a combination of those things. We prepare for every game the same but at the same time you know it's a little different just because of the energy and atmosphere you're going to feel. That's something you can't really just shutout.

As a team, kind of similar to Maryland. We have to feed off the energy of the stadium and not be intimidated by it and go out and attack Iowa the same way we would any other team.

Q. Your head coach just gave a pretty passionate statement regarding the letter that was sent to Jonathan Sutherland. I'm not going to ask you to rehash that, but do you get a sense -- a lot of guys taking to social media; is this a galvanizing moment for your locker room in terms of further increasing the bond that you guys share?
WILL FRIES: Yeah, I think that any time we hit some adversity such as things like this, it brings us closer together. You know, although those remarks were negative, I think that as a team, we realize, okay, we've always got each other's backs. As you see with those things on social media.

As far as Sutherland, he's really the gold standard of character in our locker room. He's an outstanding, not only player but just human being in general. He's always working out, doing extra stuff, extra treatment, and like I said, his character is extremely high. Takes pride in academics and things like that. He's my locker neighbor and I'm proud to be next to him because he's an outstanding human being.

Q. When it comes to a situation like this, going on the road to a hostile environment, playing a stout defense in a game that always seems like it's going to be Big Ten tough as far as like the style of play, when you think of Big Ten Football, how does this kind of fall into that description?
WILL FRIES: Yeah, I think it's one of those games you kind of dream about as a kid. When you have these dreams of playing big time football and things like that, these Penn State Iowa matchups, these Big Ten clashes are things you dream about playing. You have to live in the moment.

My high school coach used to say, you have to realize what you're experiencing while you experience it. I think if you take that step back and view it from that perspective, it makes the whole thing a lot more enjoyable.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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