While the brass dredged up old jokes and demolished prime steaks, coaches George Welsh of Navy and Ed Cavanaugh of Army tried their hands at psychology yesterday at a luncheon celebrating the annual service football game.

Welsh appeared late for the Touchdown Club fete, blaming a lengthy morning practice for his tardiness. Cavanaugh left early, claiming the need to hurry back for an afternoon practice.

Actually, both teams are more concerned with healing the wounded from earlier battles than with further preparation for their Dec. 5 meeting (set back a week from the originally scheduled date). Additionally, Welsh must keep his warriors from placing too much emphasis on the Dec. 30 Liberty Bowl matchup with Ohio State and too little on an Army team it figures to beat easily.

"It's too long, that's what's got me worried, not Ohio State," Welsh said. "I think we'll have a team ready to play, but it's been so long (two weeks) since we played I'm not sure what Navy team will show up. We have respect for Army. They were pretty good against Missouri and VMI before all those injuries. Navy will have to be a good football team to win."

"I don't know if we'll ever play this game," Cavanaugh said. "I had no idea I'd be this nervous and we still have a week to go."

Vice Adm. Edward C. Waller, new superintendent of the Naval Academy, showed his inexperience with these affairs by saying, "May the best team win."

"I'm not as diplomatic as the superintendent," said Bo Coppedge, Navy athletic director. "I hope we beat the hell out of Army."

John Marsh, the Secretary of the Army, said, "I want to thank you on behalf of all of us in the Army for this great victory party."