A nice problem to have: 2 capable RT starters

CHEMISTRY IS CRITICAL on the offensive line, a good unit gets to where they can pretty much predict each other's movements and have a lot of success doing it. But what do you do when the line is playing good ball but another potentially important piece to the puzzle becomes available? If you're Mike Riley, you look at playing Tavita Thompson...and Mike Remmers, at the right tackle spot.

You don't normally see rotation on the offensive line like you do at most other positions. You don't normally tinker with success when an offensive line is opening the holes for the league's leading rusher and has allowed precious few sacks. But the OSU line, as good as it has been, could get even better.

Because there have been times during the spring session, in fall camp and also during in-season practices this year where Thompson has flat-out dominated.

And Remmers has done some dominating of his own this season, particularly against USC in the first half. That kind of performance is rarely seen out of a redshirt freshman o-lineman, one who walked on at OSU two years ago after failing to receive a single Pac-10 scholarship offer coming out of Jesuit High.

The reason we're at this juncture with five games to go is because Thompson this week is coming off a year-long suspension by the NCAA after taking over-the-counter diet pills that contained a banned substance.

And while we're talking about it, it's worth noting the intent of the rule by the NCAA is good, their intent is in the right place -- no one wants to see college football players turn to performance enhancing drugs. But the execution of the rule as it applied to Thompson was absurd. The NCAA lost sight of what they were trying to accomplish and compounded their mistake when they refused his appeals. The guy took an over the counter diet pill. He was trying to drop a few pounds. He wasn't trying to take a performance enhancing drug. BF.C wrote a commentary on the subject this summer, it is free for everyone to read here.

And now that we're moving on, the final five regular season games for the Beavs have yet one more intriguing thing to keep a close eye on as the Beavs chase their postseason dreams, the right tackle position.

THOMPSON IS LISTED on the official depth chart this week as the backup to starter Remmers, though Riley has left open the door that he may even start.

Barring something unforeseen between now and Saturday, it seems a near certainty Thompson will at least rotate in on the o-line, though how much is anyone's guess not named Mike Cavanaugh or Mike Riley.

Thompson practiced the bye week with the ones and also was with the first team on Tuesday, though it was at left tackle. That still doesn't mean it's a done deal he'll start -- coaches often have a player who is coming back run with the ones to get back into the flow. And then they bring them in off the bench for their first game back.

And practice is one thing, game shape is another. And there are really no substitutes for it.

What Thompson brings to the table is brute strength combined with an advanced ability to finish off his blocks. There have been times in full contact practices Thompson finished so well he should have had his picture put on a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's. Remmers is not as strong as he is going to be next year, or the year after that, or that year after that. But he is very athletic, he has a world of potential, and he's pretty doggone good right now.

And as any coach will tell you -- the more you have to prepare for from your opponent during the week, the harder it becomes. And ASU has to prepare for three pretty good tackles -- Andy Levitre, Remmers and Thompson -- this week.

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