When the various postseason awards are banded out to this year's Redskin players, Clarence Harmon is not likely to receive any. Not unless one is created for "Mr. Utility."

Coach Jack Pardee would hate to think where his team would be this season without this steady, durable back with the sure hands, surprising acceleration and knack for doing something right at the right time.

One offensive statistic tells much about Harmon: He has moved the football 85 times this year -- 58 rushes, 27 pass receptions -- and 28 times has given the Redskins a first down.

That is a success percentage of almost 33, an impressive figure considering opponents know that Harmon is Washington's big-play man on third downs.

Yet Harmon doesn't impress you with his quickness or his size or his speed or his strength. A 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds he is a player who has fully used his natural ability to excel when it appeared he wasn't good enough to play professionally.

Harmon can play either backfield position. Once a stranger to pass patterns, he now is one of the club's most reliable receivers. Need a kickoff or punt returner? Just tell Harmon, whose sure hands and determination to get an extra yard makes him as reliable as a coach could want.

Fred O'Connor, the running backs coach, calls Harmon a thinking man's runner.

"He has a great grasp of the game," said O'Connor, "probably the best on the team. He understands it, and what is going on.

"When he comes back to the huddle, he could tell you why he made a certain cut or why he went a certain way. There is a reason for everything he does.

"Clarence was basically a wishbone fullback before he came to the pros. And he hasn't played all that much in the pros. So he is still learning. I think he eventually will be a full-time runner in this league. He is always improving."

To those who think Harmon should be used even more right now, perhaps as a starter, O'Connor has a ready answer:

"I think the fact that he is spotted makes him so effective. He doesn't get as tired that way. He's fresh when we need him. If he was in there all the time, you might see a natural drop-off in this production."

Harmon obviously is making the most of just about every opportunity this season. He's the No. 3 rusher with 298 yards, No. 2 receiver with 27 catches.

In Sunday's game against Green Bay, he picked up five first downs and turned one five-yard pass into a 34-yard gain.

"I just like to play," he said. "It doesn't matter to me if I'm running, catching passes or what, although you might want to scratch punt-returning off that list. I'm not used to doing that and I'd have to really get my mind adjusted to it with those two ends coming down trying to kill you every time."

He has been a good runner since starring in high school in Kosciusko, Miss.

"When we get the ball here, we have one key lineman to watch," he said. "We key to that one person and read what he does.

"After that, instinct takes over. Our lineman are told to keep trying to hold their blocks so if we have to change directions we have some help.

"Most of my good runs have come off the planned plays. On third downs, they are probably expecting us to pass, so it opens it up for me on draws.

"The more I play, the better I feel running. The experience helps. You get more confident in your ability and in your judgment."

His confidence in pass receiving has grown, too, following a strenuous development period.

"When I came here, Coach (Joe Walton) was the backfield coach and I practically lived with him learning how to be a receiver. We'd look at films and work before and after practice.

"It was really all new to me. I had never had to catch the ball that much in high school, junior college or college. I needed to learn a lot of things. i

"Now I feel good about it. We practice it so much, how to get open and the kind of moves to make. From the opening of camp, when Coach O'Connor started talking about double moves, things have just grown and grown.

"My routes have improved and so had my feel. Now sometimes I can feel the ball coming before I see it. That didn't happen before. It helps in what you are doing."

Early in the season, when Harmon and the injured Buddy Hardeman were having so much success catching passes, opponents began double-teaming the backs. So the Redskins shifted emphasis to the wide receivers and now the extra coverage is moving to the outside.

"We receivers have to read what they are doing just the same as Joe (Thiesmann)," said Harmon. "If they are in a zone or if they are in man-to-man, who are they doubling? Then you run your route accordingly."

What about those spectacular, just-off-the-ground catches he seems to specialize in?

"I think that has to do with concentration. I really try to think about my assignments and about what my purpose is on every play.

"I know Joe got on me about dropping a low one in the Green Bay game. He says I shouldn't ever miss one of his awful throws. I told him I had just spoiled him by catching everything he threw my way."

Harmon's hands are so sure that he has lost only one fumble this year. O'Connor says his ability to take punishment and hang onto the ball is an important asset.

"Clarence is stronger than you might expect," O'Cnnor said. "That's why he gets those long gainers sometimes. It's tough to bring him down one on one.

"He's also got terrific balance. You can't knock him off his feet. He has that knack of catching himself and going for a few more yards every time.

"He know his assignments and he has total control of his body and what he wants that body to do. Before we asked him to learn both backfield spots he already had started working on it, just to be ready.

"When you know a guy is that dependable, it helps you as a coach. Nothing overwhelms Clarence. He keeps everything in perspective like you have to. If pressure bothers him, he sure doesn't show it."

Harmon has reaped one reward already from this season.

"When they keep going back to you in important situations and sometimes they put in a play just for you, then it gives you satisfaction," he said. "You'd like to feel you are always doing something right."

The Redskins held their annual Christman party yesterday in conjunction with the "No Greater Love" children's organization . . . Pardee did not hold a practice, although the players attended their usual meetings . . . Middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz was credited with a team-high 10 solo tackles against Green Bay. It was his second straight 10-tackle game.