There's loud, rhythmic clapping in the background and the chant "Generals!, Generals!" rolls across the football field.

It was the first week of practice for Washington-Lee High School in Arlington and Coach Ray Jauch is checking out his team. "Hey, look, my star is hurt," Jauch says as a young man approaches, his knee bandaged. "What's the matter, did your skinny legs get hurt?"

The player, wide receiver Jackie Moore, nods and smiles. He hurt his knee playing basketball, and isn't sure exactly how bad it is. Jauch appears concerned, but he is not upset. He talks casually with Moore, telling him to stay away from basketball, then goes back to work.

That's the way it is for Jauch in his second season at Washington-Lee where, he says, "football isn't the most important thing." There are other things like studying and preparing for the world that take priority. Besides, Jauch says, you can't expect too much from high school players, anyway.

Jauch knows the Washington-Lee Generals are not the Chicago Bruisers of the Arena Football League, the old Washington Federals of the U.S. Football League, or even the Winnipeg Jets of the Canadian Football League, all teams he has coached. But he says he has had fun through it all: 12 years in the Canadian Football League with Winnipeg and the Edmonton Eskimos, two years with the Federals, various high school jobs and this summer with the Arena Football League's Bruisers.

"I still find football is football, no matter where you play it," said Jauch. There was only one problem with all the moves -- from college ball at Iowa, to Canada, to arena football -- "The fields kept shrinking on me," he said.

But he said the attitudes remained the same. "What I really enjoy about coaching football is working with kids -- or men -- that want to learn," he said. "Regardless of the level of competition, you want ones that come out and try hard. Those are the kind of players you want to have."

Jauch even found good things to say about the Federals, who struggled with him as head coach in 1983 and 1984. "We had a good bunch of people," he said. "We just didn't win enough games, that's all. I don't look at it as a negative thing."

Jauch's move to the USFL came after becoming the fourth winningest coach in CFL history. Jauch coached Edmonton from 1970-76, taking the team to the CFL playoffs six times and once to the CFL championship. After a year as Edmonton's director of football operations, Jauch moved to Winnipeg where he coached for five years, with four playoff appearances.

Overall, he was 117-85-4 in Canada, so it might seem strange he left for the Federals. "Canada was really good to us," he said. "But personally, I felt I wanted to come back to the U.S. I still feel it's the best country in the world to live in."

After the Federals, Jauch worked jobs in the construction industry and was an assistant to now retired coach Chuck Sell at Madison High School. "I didn't care about being a head coach," he said. "I just like to coach, that's all."

When former Washington-Lee athletic director Bill Weisenberger was searching for a new coach he called Sell for ideas. Sell mentioned Jauch's name and Weisenberger's next call was to Jauch..

Though some players at Washington-Lee seem unaware of Jauch's background -- he doesn't bring it up often -- the respect is there. "He takes time to explain things to you," said junior guard Corey Johnson. "He'll get down and show you what you should do. He goes further than other coaches would."

But Jauch has a son who graduates from Madison High School next spring, and says he may leave Washington-Lee and his Vienna home afterward. He is an Illinois native and said the Chicago area is a possibility, especially if the Bruisers are alive. "I'll have to wait and see," he says.

His plans now are simple. Last season Washington-Lee went 2-8 so it's time to get going. "I'd like to see the Generals win their league," Jauch said.