Position battle spotlight: RT

MIKE RILEY SAYS the depth on the offensive line is considerably better than last season. And there will be heightened competition at the right tackle spot in fall camp, between Michael Philipp and Colin Kelly.

On paper it would seem a mismatch.

Michael Philipp was a heralded recruit get out of California, and proceeded to start 22 games his first two years at OSU. Meanwhile, Colin Kelly was a potential grayshirt candidate out of Kelso, Wash.

But Kelly worked his way up, and while he didn't start he saw action in all but one game of the 2010 season at tackle.

Riley has said the two juniors are locked in a starting battle that will be decided in fall camp.

Philipp had an impressive freshman campaign, any frosh starting on the line would be impressive enough but he showed enough flashes that Beaver fans were thrilled, and thinking about how good he might become over his OSU career. But before his sophomore season, injuries began to pile up and while he was able to start for the most part, he didn't look the part of a rising star in 2010, (though to be fair, no one on the 2010 o-line did either).

That 2010 campaign in itself wouldn't be a major concern. What has arched eyebrows -- Philipp's performance this spring.

The Oregonian's Paul Buker noted Philipp "has not upped his game" and "I keep waiting for No. 77 to exert some authority and take over but if anything it looked like Kelly had the edge at the end of spring ball." BF.C's Maria Bruggere agreed, saying if you had to name a starter based on the spring, it would have to be Kelly.

Kelly has become more and more comfortable at tackle after cutting his teeth on the interior of the line, and 2011 might be the year he not only puts it all together, but does so at a high level.

Philipp will be a significant storyline in fall camp. His 22 starts speaks for itself. But he's been playing at the college level for only two seasons having never redshirted. He has all the tools -- it wouldn't be a shocker if in fall camp he suddenly turned the corner.

And what if both guys raise their game during fall camp? Then o-line coach Mike Cavanaugh has some decisions to make.

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