A-list position battles: Oregon State

Fifth in a series taking a look at top position competitions this fall.

Oregon State: Offensive guard

Why the competition? Right guard Gregg Peat is the only 2009 starter not back on the Beavers offensive line, but the only certainties after spring practices are Alex Linnenkohl at center and Mike Remmers at right tackle.

Candidates: Sophomore Michael Philipp (6-3, 307), Grant Johnson (6-3, 280), Burke Ellis (6-4, 280), Colin Kelly (6-4, 285), Ryan Pohl (6-3, 284) and Michael Lamb (6-3, 282).

The skinny: The easy way for this to go is four starters return to their 2009 spots and Ellis and Kelly compete for the starting job at right guard. But the Beavers are looking for their best five guys, and that might mean some shuffling. So does Philipp stay at left tackle, where he started as a true freshman, or does he move inside to left guard because of how well Wilder McAndrews played this spring while Philipp sat out with a knee injury? And does McAndrews, after a career that almost ended because of hand and wrist injuries, stay healthy? Second, does Johnson, a returning starter at left guard who missed spring after shoulder surgery, then move to the right side to compete with Ellis and Kelly? Or will someone else emerge? McAndrews is the wild card. If he's one of the best five, then things will shuffle. If Philipp is back at tackle, then right guard is the only hot spot.