Rookie Ed Simmons is cramming training camp into one week, and the Washington Redskins have just the man to spoon-feed him -- offensive line coach Joe Bugel.

As Bugel emerged from the locker room yesterday, tackle Mark May hummed a baritone version of "Hail To The Chief." And just like the president, Bugel likes to surround himself with big guards. There's 280-pound Raleigh McKenzie, 270-pound R.C. Thielemann, and now the 305-pound Simmons, who will start Sunday at guard.

Bugel's theory is the more 300-pounders, the merrier. And Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday that it was Bugel's decision to keep the lighter Jeff Bostic out of the starting lineup this week in place of injured center Russ Grimm, for the following reasons:McKenzie appears to give cleaner center exchanges than Bostic. "It seems like we do pretty well with him," Gibbs said. "He has such a wide, broad base. And he's been pretty good at {snapping}."Simmons has potential to be a dominant guard, not only because at 6 feet 5 he's almost Joe Jacoby's size, but because of his quick feet.

Originally, Bostic was Grimm's replacement at center, but quarterback Jay Schroeder fumbled Bostic's only snap against the Eagles last Sunday. Bugel lifted him immediately, Gibbs said, because the fumble was "spooky, and Joe {Bugel} felt a little more comfortable {with McKenzie}."

Bostic moved over to McKenzie's spot at left guard after the fumble last week, but Simmons is now replacing him there, too. Again, it was Bugel's decision, and, again, it has to do with Simmons' size.

Ever since Bugel arrived here in 1981, he has bugged Gibbs to get the tallest, biggest players for him. Bugel believes he can take most anyone out of a Big Man/Tall Man store and turn him into a lineman.

"If he has intelligence and size, you can teach him how to be a football player," Bugel says.

So Simmons is Bugel's latest guinea pig, 305 pounds of moving flesh. He began the season as the team's starting tackle, in place of the injured May, but now he's playing guard. Simmons scratched his chin yesterday when asked the last time he'd played guard.

"Sophomore year of college, I think," he said. "For a half."

Bugel says he's using "mental anguish" to get Simmons ready. In other words, Bugel stops the video recorder during meetings and asks Simmons to speak up. Bugel asks him: "What would you call in this situation, Ed?"

Unfortunately, Simmons is the timid type and answers in a soft voice.

So Bugel says he agitates Simmons:

"I say, 'Speak louder, Ed! I can't hear you, Ed! Yell in my ear, Ed!' "

This is Bugel's definition of mental anguish.

Simmons says the hardest part about playing guard is learning the assignments. Other than that, he says running around on the counter-trey play is no problem. He says he's always been mobile, ever since he played soccer and basketball at his Seattle high school.

"He's {305} pounds, and we'll have him next to another guy that weighs 315 {Jacoby}," Bugel said yesterday. "He can run and pull on that counter play of ours. Anytime you've got a 300-pounder that can pull, you've got a pretty good player."

This will be Simmons' third start in the NFL, so he says he won't be antsy. When May hurt his knee in the exhibition season, Simmons moved in at right tackle, and Bugel says he did a "commendable job" against the Eagles' all-pro Reggie White in the season opener.

"I don't think Reggie intimidated him a bit," Bugel said. "We helped him quite a bit, though. We're not gonna leave him out there naked with Reggie White. King Kong can't even go against {White} without help."

Simmons weighs 30 pounds more than Grimm, so the Redskins line has never been heavier. Total weight: 1,465 pounds.

Running back George Rogers isn't objecting to having a 305-pound guard.

"It should be great, as long as he remembers the plays," Rogers said.

Meanwhile, trainer Bubba Tyer said yesterday that Grimm -- who underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday and was found to have ligament damage -- will wear a brace until Nov. 24. At that point, depending how the knee feels, Grimm could be ready to play soon thereafter.

"When he gets the brace off, we'll re-evaluate," Tyer said. "But he's not out for the season, contrary to what you hear. Russ has played when we thought he wouldn't, so we'll see. But he's not out for the year, by any stretch of the imagination."

In fact, Tyer said he expected Grimm would be well enough to go hunting next week. "Hunting season just opened," Tyer said.

Of course, the odd man out appears to be Bostic, who again declined comment yesterday. Simmons was the man of the hour yesterday, surrounded by reporters, while Bostic sat alone at his locker dressing. Defensive end Dexter Manley did his best to disrupt Simmons' group interview by turning the lights on and off in the locker room. But Simmons continued to answer questions.

Ironically, Bostic's biggest supporter right now seems to be Bugel, who repeats day after day that Bostic is still in the team's plans. When Bostic came to the team in 1980, he was used mostly as a snapper on field goals and punts, and it appears he now is a role player all over again.

"He's an excellent football player," Bugel said. "He can do so many things -- play center, both guard positions and special teams. He's a strong asset to our football team."

Bugel says Bostic's decision not to criticize the coaches has been a brave one.

"He could've very easily sat in the corner, pouting, sucking his thumb, being a clubhouse lawyer," Bugel said. "But hey, he's working harder now than ever before. He's a team player, and those guys last a long time, you know?"

Redskins Notes:

Linebackers Rich Milot and Neal Olkewicz split time during practice yesterday, and defensive coordinator Larry Peccatiello said Milot will start Sunday against the Detroit Lions if his sore left ankle feels better today. "But I'd be completely at ease with either one starting," Peccatiello said yesterday . . . Reserve safety Clarence Vaughn also has a sore ankle, and Gibbs said rookie Steve Gage will take his place on the 45-man roster if Vaughn doesn't feel better today or Saturday . . . Gibbs said ex-replacement player Darrick Brilz will take Grimm's place on the 45-man roster . . . Gibbs, who has stood by quarterback Jay Schroeder, also is standing by punt returner Eric Yarber. Yarber is averaging 6.7 yards in 21 returns, and there has been some sentiment that ex-replacement player Derrick Shepard should take his place. Against St. Louis in a replacement game, Shepard had three returns for 118 yards, including one for 73. "I don't think we've done a good enough job blocking for {Yarber}," Gibbs said. "Last year, he was very productive when we gave him a hole. You've got to look at that. It's been our poor execution on blocks."