Fry Competing for Playing Time in St. Louis

This time a year ago, former Clemson center Dustin Fry was in familiar surroundings as he, and the rest of the Tigers were in the early stages of two-a-days preparing for the 2006 season. Now, Fry is getting ready for another kind of season -- his first in the NFL.

After going in the fifth round to the St. Louis Rams in the 2007 draft, he has spent much of his time getting acclimated to life the NFL, mainly through organized team activities (OTAs), mini-camps and now his first training camp.

The Rams signed him and to three-year deal back in July and many see Fry as being able to unseat 37-year-old starting center Andy McCollom with a strong showing in camp. caught up with Fry between practices with the Rams earlier this week for a quick chat and here is that exchange:

You are now eight months removed from college career at Clemson. How do you look back on your time there?
Fry: It was an enjoyable experience. I grew to love that area and hope to make it my offseason home away from home now. It's a place that I always look forward to going back to. I have my family there now. I really enjoyed my four and a half years there. I can't really say anything bad about it. It was a fun time while I was there.

Do you plan on making it back for a game this year?
Fry: Our bye week is November 4, when they're at Duke. So, it doesn't look good for me to make it back for a game. Maybe I can make a bowl game or something like that. It all depends on how it goes here, but right now, it doesn't look good.

You mentioned that you live in the area during the offseason. What is it that appealed to you about the area that made you want to live there?
Fry: The weather is great. The country atmosphere is also great because there aren't a ton of buildings and it's not like a concrete jungle. You also have three lakes right on top of each other and I'm a big outdoors guy and love being out on the lake. Anything to do with that is great. You also have the mountains there and also Asheville and the Highlands. There is so much to do in that little area that you can drive 30 minutes from Clemson and be worlds away it seems like. It's just a fun area to be in.

Former Clemson center Dustin Fry was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you to life as a professional so far?
Fry: It's all an adjustment. Being more than a few hours away from home is one. I am back at the bottom of the totem pole, not at the top anymore and having to fight my way back up the depth chart. I am still trying to get a feel for what is going on here. It's difficult but some things are easier than others. I have been coming around in the last few weeks of camp and am starting to feel part of this place.

How are things going in this, your first NFL training camp?
Fry: It's long and monotonous. I don't know if it's as hard as college camp was, but it's the same thing on a different day. It's very monotonous and the days are long. We are only here until the 18th. It's just part of the game. I have been in camp for the last 10 years at this time, so it's all part of the game.

Can you offer your thoughts on the returning talent at Clemson and how you think they will do this year.
Fry: I hope they do great. I haven't been able to keep up with them too closely. But I do know that they have C.J. (Spiller) and James (Davis) in the backfield. I think Cullen Harper will be a real good quarterback for them. I think they'll be good. Hopefully, they start fast and finish fast and don't do what we did last year. They have the potential to be at the top of the ACC at the end of the year.

Talk about your experience at the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year.
Fry: It was a meat market and also a necessary evil. You get probed and prodded so much for four days and don't work out for four days. By that time, you just want to get home because you're so sick of being there. I almost wished the workouts were on the second day because by the last day, you're so dead tired that you don't feel like being there any more. I guess it's a necessary evil. I wish there was an easier way, but that's how they want to do it.

What has been the biggest off the field adjustment for you in the NFL?
Fry: Realizing that it is a business was one thing and now, I don't have a house here and have to live in a hotel. I lived in one during OTAs and am now back in one for camp. Right now, I don't feel like I have a place here since I have spent all of my time in a hotel. It kind of sucks because I don't have all my stuff here. I'm living out of a suitcase and that's not fun. That has been a big adjustment because I'm used to being settled in and having a home to go back to, but that hasn't been the case for a little while now.

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