This dateline does not mean that the community where the St. Louis football Cardinals train already has been named after their new head coach, Charles Burnham (Bud) Wilkinson. Not yet.

But the doubts expressed on March 2, when Wilkinson was named - the questions of his age (62), his absence from the coaching sidelines for 14 seasons and his probable view of current life style - have been answered, in part.

Bearded center Tom Banks, open critic of the front office, player representative, option playout and admirer of previous Cardinal Coach Don Coryell, says, "I believe in Wilkinson, so far. He's convinced me he knows modern pro football with two new formations he's already put in - the 3-4 defense he originated at Oklahoma and the wishbone-T formation to combat it."

Pullback Jim Otis, who wanted to be dealt to the Washington Redskins, now says, "There are very few good coaches in pro football. Wilkinson is going to be one of the top coaches."

Quarterback Jim Hart says, "It is a shame he is getting criticized before he's had a chance. That's what I've been telling people; not on the squad, people on the street.He's a good organization man. The assistants are doing the coaching and he has kept Coryell's offense, basically.

"We will find out if he can coach when the season begins."

Defensive back Jeff Severson, a one-time Redskin, now is a seven-season veteran and he says, "Wilkinson knows more football than all of us put together. He's a winner, he's sharp. All the guys I know have confidence in him."

Wilkinson, taking note of those who have made acerbic remarks about his absence from coaching, says, "Where do they think I've been for 14 years, on a sheep ranch in Australia?"

Said Wilkinson, "I enjoy the commitment to football excellence, but I don't suggest that it has great overtones. Redeveloping inner-city St. Louis, for instance, is much more important," Wilkinson lives in a section of the city that is undergoing restoration.

The coach works the Cardinals as did Coryell, in the cool of the morning, beginning at 8:30 and not again until 7:30 p.m. He says, "it takes at least eight hours for a player's muscle condition to be properly restored and to get his body fluids back in balance."

There are three squad meetings a day, but none of more than 45 minutes' duration because he believes the attention span is taxed after that.

There are four meals a day, beginning with a 6 a.m. breakfast and including a snack before bedtime.

At the end of the practices on the Lindenwood College campus field, there is a built-in challenge to test the fortitude of players - a 122-step climb to the dorm and dining hall.

The players trudge up wearily twice a day. In the mornings, Wilkinson runs two laps around the field after practice and then trots up the steps as any self-respecting former director of the president's youth fitness program would.

The practices are open to the public with beer and other refreshments sold to the fans. Workouts wil be closed when the team moves into Busch Stadium but never to the media, the coach promises, a departure from the past.

Besides the national networks and magazines, there are media representatives coming in from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City and Des Moines.

Wilkinson virtually whispers when he communicates with a player on the field and most other sound is muffled on the new full-sized practice field covered with Super Turf.

Self-proclaimed rebel Banks says, "The old-time hollering and cussing is gone in coaching. I wouldn't put up with it. Bud's practices are running a little long and I'm going to tell him if he keeps them up.

"He knows football; we can tell. We had one coach here (not Coryell) who was a phony; he didn't know football and we found out in three weeks. The season was shot right there.