Washington's changing of the arms will be continued Saturday night in Phoenix when Kim McQuilken replaces the injured Mike Hohensee as starting quarterback for the Federals.

McQuilken, who completed 22 of 28 passes for 156 yards against the Denver Gold last week, expressed confidence that the Federals will wring a victory from the Arizona Wranglers:

"We will beat Arizona. You heard it here first."

McQuilken stepped in midway through the second quarter in Denver when Hohensee wrenched his left knee while scrambling out of the pocket. Hohensee, who injured the meniscal cartilage, is wearing a cast and his playing status is uncertain.

"I don't know whether he'll be back," said Coach Ray Jauch. "We were going to go with him for the remainder of the season."

Instead, McQuilken, a seven-year veteran of the NFL and the Federals' opening-day starter, will lead an offense that ranks eighth in the USFL.

"We have to control the ball," said Jauch, "and Kim does a good job at that. He's a control-type passer."

Last week Denver protected itself against long passes by double-covering the Federals deep. Jauch does not believe the Wranglers will defense his team in quite the same way.

"After looking at the film, I think they're going to take away our short stuff," he said. "We'll be prepared to throw the ball."

McQuilken had no problem picking apart the Gold defense, completing four of his first five passes, and twice driving the Federals deep into Gold territory. "I felt very sharp," he said. "I can't explain why. It's a mental thing."

McQuilken's strength lies with his experience. "Kim's a patient quarterback, who's good at picking away at a defense," Jauch said. "Mike (Hohensee) was just starting to learn to do that more."

McQuilken, from Lehigh, is more savvy than speedy. "I never claimed to be O.J. Simpson, but I think I'm rather mobile," he said. McQuilken won't have to run much if he can adjust to the shifting defenses. "My game is keying and reading," he said. "I take what the defense gives. Denver was giving us the underneath stuff, so I went to our backs."

McQuilken concentrated on running backs Billy Taylor (10 passes for 71 yards) and Craig James (five catches) because the Federals' receivers not only couldn't beat the deep coverage, but took a physical beating as well. Joey Walters suffered a bruised back, Mike Harris dislocated the little finger on his left hand and Vince Kinney seriously injured his knee.

The Federals signed Brian Butcher, a territorial draft choice from Clemson. The 6-foot-5 guard had been drafted in the 11th round by the Minnesota Vikings . . . Defensive end Coy Bacon has missed practice the last two days because of the flu. He is expected to play Saturday . . . Walters, third in the league with 62 catches, is a possible starter against Arizona. Defensive tackle Bennie Smith is expected to miss the game because of a sprained right knee.