He walks around the Dickinson College campus in tennis shorts, a designer shirt. Top-sider shoes and no socks, looking for all the world like an old Yale man on the way to The Club for a bit of squash.

But while most of his classmates have long since taken the first steps toward establishing themselves as some of society's movers and shakers, Brian Dowling, Yale '69, is still struggling to find his niche in the frustrating world of professional football.

He is in the Redskin camp now, trying to catch on with his third NFL team since 1969. He is 30, and the classic example of The Journeyman Quarterback. Even if he makes this team, it will probably be as the third-string, taxi-squad quarterback. So why does he keep on pushing?

"I just enjoy the game. It's still a lot of fun," he said today. "I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything. I've met so many interesting peoole, and I've learned enough about the game that if I decided to stay in it after I'm through playing. I could handle it.

"I think I've become a pretty good judge of talent. And I've been with enough bad organizations to know what it takes to have a good organization, like the Redskins."

Dowling entered professional football as the Vikings' 11th-round draft choice in 1969 after a phenomenal career in high school and college. Despite a series of injuries throughout his three varsity years in New Haven, Dowling never lost a game at Yale - or in high school - in which he starter and finished.

He beat out 13 quaterbacks that first year at Yale, including a big bull from Baltimore named Calvin Hill, and led Yale to its last undefeated season in 1968. And along the way, he became a favored subject for a young Yale Daily News cartoonist named Garry Trudeau.

The character, "B.D." still pops up occasionally in the nationally syndicated "Doonesbury" strip, and Dowling wrote the introduction to Trudeau's first book.

"Garry made B.D. a right-wing hawk who went to Vietnam with his helmet on." Dowling said, "Nah, there was no relation to me. Once he had B.D in the huddle saying, "Jesus, fourth and ten, what should I call?" Then someone held up a shoe and B.D says, 'Yeah, guess it's time to punt.'"

"I've always enjoyed it. He's just a clever guy."

Still, Dowling would prefer to be remembered as a big-time quaterback and the struggle to achieve that status has taken him through the NFL, the World Football League and even Canada. Only once, with Charlotte of the WFL, has he been a regular starter, and then the league folded.

Dowling was back to Boston selling insurance after not playing football in 1976. When the Redskins called last January.

And there was never any hesitation on Dowling's part to resume the career he had once left behind. "Actually this is the first good organization I've been associated with since college," he said. "And for a quarterback, it's a lot easier to play on a good team. Billy Kilmer is a great example of that. If you change the circumstances a little, you have a choice."

And that is what Dowling and his chief rival for the No. 3 job. Jesse Freitas, have very much in common. Both say they have been victims of circumstance all through their professional careers.

Dowling happened along at New England the same time Jim Plunkett arrived as a highly touted No. 1 pick. Freitas found himself unhappy playing behind Dan Fouts in San Diego and quit the game for a season.

And both are now battling in the summer heat tot convince Goerge ALlen and his coaching staff that they can still play, that it Billy Kilmer or Joe Theismann is hurt, they can step in and perform immediately.

"Brian looked pretty good, Allen said after today's morning workout."He throws to the right receiver, he can move around and I don't think he'll make mistakes. He's a better quarterback than a lot of people realize."

"I'm still confident in my ability," Dowling said. "I feel I can still play the game, and my objective here is to do well and have the coaches get confidence in me. I never had that in New England, and that's very important.

"As far as getting into another line of work, well. If my career ended now. I know I'd be at least six years behind somebody who had gone to graduate school or law school, both in experience and earning capacity.

"But I've always loved the game, especially when I was playing.I have no regrets about my career. My wife and my family have been behind me all the way. Sure we had some tough times, especially the years in the WFL, and it's been no bed of roses by any means. But it's still in my system and I think I can play."

Allen has already said Dowling will start and see most of the action in Saturday's scrimmage against the Colt rookies in Annapolis. But Dowling insists there will be no added pressure on him.

"I could be O-for-15 passing and hit every receiver in the numbers," he said. "I'm sort of playing everything by ear. All you do is to try and do your best and not worry about the things you can't control."