December 24, 2009

Freshman Spotlight: Ray Beno

While freshman offensive lineman Ray Beno may not have moved very far geographically when he enrolled at Georgia Tech after playing at Newnan High School, the world of college football has proved to be quite the challenge. After watching the Yellow Jackets dynamic offense all season, Beno cannot wait for his opportunity in the spring to step into the rotation and help Georgia Tech compete for another ACC Championship.

"I believe my freshman year has gone pretty well," Beno said. "Going through the season you get more used to the speed of the game. Being a redshirting freshman like me, you work on getting bigger, faster and stronger. Through this year even redshirting has been amazing you are going through all the big wins at home against Virginia Tech and the atmosphere of being out here has been great all-around."

Given the high academic standards at Georgia Tech, Beno says redshirting really helps the freshmen stay on top of their class work.

"It definitely helps a lot not playing immediately. There is a lot that goes into starting or playing in the rotation. I have seen who the guys study everything from DVDs to personnel groupings. Coming in here as a redshirt I have been able to focus on my studies first," he said. "Now I can learn all that other stuff down the road and I think it works out for me."

Beno came in over 300 pounds in June and he admits he needs to get in better shape to compete in head coach Paul Johnson's system.

"I am at 285 right now. I came in at 305 in June. I lost some weight and I am doing pretty well," Beno said.

With Dan Voss graduating, Beno is hoping to become Sean Bedford's backup at center. Beno got some reps at center and guard during the first two weeks of bowl practice when the coaches typically give the redshirting players relegated to scout team a look in the offense and defense.

"I am getting reps and guard and center right now," Beno said. "We had a little scrimmage last week and they played me at guard in that one. It is definitely exciting to get to compete with all those guys. It is a great feeling knowing that now I definitely have a chance to play. I just have to."

A couple of the older offensive linemen have been helping Beno make the adjustment to life at Georgia Tech both on and off the field.

"Two guys have taken me under their wing. Bedford has been showing me the ropes and he is a fellow center and is trying to help me out a bit. Nick Claytor is my buddy and kind of tells me how everything goes around. He helps me out with everything around here."

Overall, Beno is very excited about his development and the vast improvement he has seen from his fellow freshmen linemen since they arrived at Georgia Tech.

"The other freshmen offensive linemen are doing great. We all came in here expecting the same thing. We hoped to get a chance to play this year, but through redshirting, we are getting better everyday. Going out there and playing with those guys in the scrimmage, I know there has been a major change between now and last summer."

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