CARLISLE, PA., JULY 28 -- As Wally Kleine, the Washington Redskins' 6-foot-9, 308-pound summer experiment, slowly worked the crowd of autograph seekers and fans at Dickinson College's Biddle Field this morning, one man who must not know much about football yelled, "Are you Jay Schroeder? Are you the quarterback?"

Kleine looked up and smiled politely.

"No, sir," he said, "I'm Wally Kleine. I'm an offensive lineman."

This is Kleine's summer to deal with an identity crisis -- or two. A defensive tackle at Notre Dame, and a fairly good one, Kleine was selected in the second round of the National Football League draft as an offensive tackle. The Redskins liked his size (what football team wouldn't?) and his ability to move on his feet. They figured this was worth the risk, no matter how much time it was going to take.

Kleine has not been scrutinized nearly as much as his fellow second-round draft pick, cornerback Brian Davis, who was selected 18 places ahead of Kleine. This is partially because what is going on along the offensive line barely can be discerned by the naked eye. But it's also because no one is hurrying Kleine, no one is talking about a starting assignment, no one is asking how or why he got beat on a play.

"It's not going to be a one- or two-day transition," Kleine said matter-of-factly today. "Coach {Joe} Bugel has told me it's going to take a lot of work. He's told me he'll be patient with me, so I'm able to be patient with myself."

Patience isn't often listed among the leading personality traits of football players, especially defensive linemen. But, as Kleine is learning, it's a virtue to be nurtured as far as the offensive line is concerned.

"The hardest thing for me to do is pass-blocking," he said. "That's hard as hell. You may think it's not. You may think how can that be hard to just sit back and stand in a person's way, but it is.

"And this has only been two days, against fellow rookies mostly. We haven't even gotten to the Dexters {Manley} and Charles Manns."

Kleine said he has to repress his old "defensive mentality."

"When a defensive end makes a move, that's when my defensive mentality starts coming out again and I want to lunge out and get him," he said.

"As soon as you lunge out, that's when they throw you aside. You've got to sit there; you can't go get them. But it's so difficult to tell yourself to set up and hold your ground."

Kleine must feel like he is looking into a mirror when he goes one-on-one with a defensive lineman.

"Take the spear drill, which is one-on-one line blocking. On defense, I used to love that drill. All you had to do was get into the {offensive lineman}, stalemate him and win. But now on offense, you've got to stay into him and stay with him. On offense, if I throw him off, I'm liable to throw him right into the runner," he said.

"With Wally, it's slowly but surely," said Bugel, who coaches the offensive line as assistant head coach/offense. "He has great persistence and patience.

"It's going to take a lot of patience, not only on his part but on my part, also. It's going to take a great amount of work. It's not going to be built in a week. It'll be more like three or four weeks before he's ready to go."

What the Redskins are looking for from Kleine, Bugel said, are "glimpses."

"If we can see a little light there, we'll know he can do it. It will come slowly over the next few weeks. We can't be afraid to play him in the preseason.

"The best experience will be when the vets come in and he has to go against Dexter. He will play. We don't want to make {starting left tackle Joe} Jacoby take every snap."

In the NFL, it has become customary for some young players with injuries, however slight, to be placed on injured reserve for their first season so they can learn a new position.

A player such as Kleine, with so much to learn, might fall into that category, although both he and Bugel said there are no plans for that. Kleine does wear a harness around his right shoulder, which was dislocated last season at Notre Dame, but appears to be in good shape.

There is no doubt Kleine has been working diligently at his new job. After the team's May minicamp, he spent six weeks in the Washington area, practicing with Bugel. When he went home to Midland, Tex., for a few weeks of vacation, he took his playbook with him so he would be able to study at night.

The Redskins know Kleine has the ability to pick up things quickly. He graduated in four years from Notre Dame with a solid B average, then took courses toward his MBA while he played in his redshirt senior season last fall.

For a man so big, he is deceptively gentlemanly, with boy-next-door, floppy blond hair and blue eyes. He tells stories about waiting for autographs outside the Houston Oilers locker room as a boy, and how he never would refuse a youngster an autograph now because he hated it so much when it happened to him.

He also has been blessed with a large dose of perspective, something that often comes in handy after particularly difficult practices.

"Anything's harder when it's new, and this is as new as anything has been for me," Kleine said. "My goals right now have to be very short-term, like getting my steps down and mastering the fundamentals. Then I'll be able to move on. From this morning's practice to this afternoon's, I just want to get a little better."