Ogden injury is Folau's opportunity

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

3rd-year backup tackle relishes chance to start

August 12, 1999|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Considering that he's competing with Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and 13-year veteran Harry Swayne, Spencer Folau said he needs to make the most out of chances when they come.

He'll get his first opportunity this season when he works with the first team in tonight's preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles because of Ogden's injured hip flexor.

Although Folau's chances of supplanting either one are slim, he enjoys the chance to be on the first unit.

"I'm definitely excited to be working with those guys," Folau said. "This is the goal of my life."

Folau, 6 feet 5, 300 pounds, started the final three games last season, replacing the injured Orlando Brown at right tackle. With Brown's off-season departure for the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens signed Swayne, who started every game for the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos last season. That means Folau stays with the second string.

Folau, a third-year player from Idaho, will have his work cut out for him facing defensive end Hugh Douglas, who led the Eagles with 12.5 sacks last season.

"It will be a challenge," Folau said.

"It is tough with Swayne and Ogden here. You just have to learn from those guys and wait your turn."

W. Richardson time

With coach Brian Billick running the show, expect to see third-string quarterback Wally Richardson get more snaps this preseason.

Richardson, a third-year player from Penn State, said he'll probably play most of the fourth quarter against the Eagles, a switch from the past when he hardly saw any playing time in the preseason under former Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda.

In the regular season, Richardson has taken six snaps and completed one of two passes.

"My first two years have been more of what I can do in practice," Richardson said. "Now I'll get more time in game situations."

Defense ready to hit

The Ravens' defense, which held the Detroit Lions to 10 points and Barry Sanders to 41 yards in the final game last season, is looking to show that same form early in tonight's game.

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis, one of three defensive starters the Ravens sent to the Pro Bowl along with Peter Boulware and Michael McCrary, said it is important for the defense to re-establish its mentality, starting tonight.

"We don't want to go out there and try to kill anybody," Lewis said. "We're just excited about getting a chance to hit someone wearing a different jersey and helmet."

Bentley pushes Stover

Kicker Scott Bentley won a kicking contest during halftime of Friday's scrimmage, but 10-year veteran kicker Matt Stover knows that was just for fun.

Tonight's game is for real. He'll alternate with Bentley in what has become one of the most heated battles in training camp.

"That contest had no bearing at all on who will be the place-kicker," Stover said.

Bentley has been impressive in camp and poses one of the biggest threats to Stover in his tenure with the Browns/Ravens.

It helps Stover that he's been through this before, midway through last season when the Ravens brought in kickers to compete with him.

"All you can do is do what you do best and not worry about the other circumstances," Stover said. "I ended up having a good year."

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