Chuck Rodgers, a cornerback from North Dakota State, had just been beaten badly on a deep pass return and was lamenting his misfortune on the sideline when Redskin Coach Jack Pardee walked over and began talking to the disconsolate rookie.
"Don't let it get you down," Pardee told Rodgers in a clear, calm and comforting voice. Then he spent the next 60 seconds explaining precisely what Rodgers had done wrong, telling him how to do it properly and offering a pat on the shoulder pads.
It was a gesture that went a long way toward symbolizing the difference in coaching regimes from the intense, imperial reign of George Allen to the more relaxed atmosphere under Pardee and his new staff.
Everywhere one looks these early days of training camp, the changes in atmosphere and attitudes are clearly visible.
Allen used to arrive in training camp in his chauffeured limousine while his wife flew off to California to spend the summer on the coast.
Pardee came to camp Saturday driving a Ford Bronco. His wife Phyllis and four of his children drove the family station wagon to Carlisle where they will stay the rest of the week. Pardee goes to church every morning and sleeps with his family across the street from the team dormitory.
Under Allen, Redskin coaches ate their meals in a separate dining room, walled off from the players by an eight-foot-high barrier. This year, the barriers have been removed.
Members of the Redskin front office assigned to training camp constantly were on call under Allen, from the time the morning bell sounded at 7 a.m. to the moment the former coach's head touched the pillow after midnight.
"We're actually allowed to live like normal people," one front-office person said the other day."Nobody has to go out and get George a milkshake at midnight anymore. You can go out and have a beer without worrying that someone might report it to the coach."
For the players, football practice is still football practice, although Pardee's sessions have been shorter than Allen's. "But we seem to be getting in just as much work as we ever did," said center Bob Kuziel, one of the few veterans in camp so far.
"Everybody just seems to be more relaxed. Certainly there's the pressure on you to do well, that will never change, but it's just not the same kind of intensity as it was with George. You always felt somebody's eyes were on you before. It's difficult to explain it, but I certainly feel looser now than I ever did before.
"I'd say we're off the field maybe 30 minutes quicker than with George, but we get the same things done. We're doing it at a quicker pace, and I think that's good. Standing out in the sun for that extra half-hour can take its toll. I think when the rest of the veterans come in next week, they'll smooth right into it. I'm sure they'll be happy."
They also will notice thatno one on Pardee's coaching staff is reluctant to express an opinion on the field. Judging from the first week. Pardee's staff is exuberant and enthusiastic, and the language is far saltier than the old George Allen "gol-darnit."
Pardee uses the same dressing room as his assistants after practice. Allen showered in a private room.
Pardee's meetings, the players say, last longer than Allen's, mostly because he is installing new systems with new terminology and numbering.
"Jack's a great teacher," said second-year safety Mark Murphy. "Everything is explained and that's different because George just assumed his veteran s already knew it."
Most of Pardee's off-the-field rules are the same, but one veteran said he was mildly surprised when he was asked to turn out his room light at 11 p.m.
Before they just wanted you in the dorm by then," he said. "Now I guess it's lights out."
Members of the media also have noticed a drastic change between coaches. In his first meeting with the team last Sunday, Pardee told his players they "had an obligation as professional football players" to co-operation with the writers, photographers and broadcasters coverting the Redskins.
Pardee's open-door policy for fans at this camp also is a popular change.
Allen locked the front gate and had a security man make sure no outsiders were allowed in, but Pardee's training camp practices are open to the public, free of charge. About 150 people a day take advantage of it.
The Redskins had a small scare yesterday early in the afternoon practice when quarterback Joe Theismann started limping badly with what he described as "the craziest darned pain I've ever felt" on the front of his right leg, about two inches above the ankle line . . . Theismann went to Carlisle Hospital for an X-ray that was negative.He came back to the locker room, changed shoes and completed the practice. "The shin is a little sore now," he said. "It went numb there for awhile. The only thing I can think of is the shoes, they're kind of worn. But it's fine now" . . . Rookie running back Tony Green was held out of workouts because of a pulled hamstring suffered in practice Wednesday. Green is not expected to play Saturday against the Colt rookies in Annapolis . . . Jean Fugett made two fine catches in traffic in afternoon seven-on-seven drills and held on after being hit hard both times . . . Pardee likes the looks of Nate Jackson, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound fullback from Tennessee State . . . Stan Viner, a defensive lineman from Brigham Young, and Jerry powell, a wide receiver from Cal State-Northridge, left camp . . . Pardee was cheered in the afternoon when he called off those dreaded striders-40-yard runs at the end of practice.