Joe Bugel, the Washington Redskins' aggressive offensive line coach, expounded yesterday about life on the Al Davis interview circuit, and -- just as everyone suspected -- Davis isn't ready to give any aspiring head coach total control of the Los Angeles Raiders.

Bugel said yesterday that he took himself out of the running for the Raiders' head coaching job recently for three reasons, the biggest being Davis' unwillingness to give up total say-so on what happens on offense.

To be more specific, here are Bugel's reasons, in order of importance to him:

Davis, the Raiders' managing general partner, wanted to borrow part but not all of Bugel's offensive philosophy. In other words, Davis liked Bugel's 50 Gut and Counter Gap plays, but -- as Bugel put it -- Davis "did not want to pull the rug out from under the Raiders, did not want to bring in a new guy and change the entire system."

Bugel said he didn't blame Davis for that, but felt it would be uncomfortable for a new head coach to have to learn a whole new offense. Usually, head coaches don't come in and get handed a playbook like the rookies do.

"I told {Davis} if I got in front of {the players} and started talking and started stuttering and stammering, you lose them," Bugel said yesterday. "I did not want to come in and be kind of a buffoon and not know what I was talking about and try to learn a new system when there were so many other things to be done, like getting the {offensive} line squared away, getting the old Raider toughness back."

Bugel said he felt uncomfortable about not being able to choose his own staff. Davis is keeping most of former coach Tom Flores' assistants, which Bugel doesn't blame him for doing. But, on the other hand, Bugel said there could be some "resentment," considering some of those assistants want the head job, too (linebackers coach Charlie Sumner and receivers coach Tom Walsh, to name a couple).

Bugel said he still could have lived with all those Flores assistants, that they were all fine men and that Davis probably would've let him bring in "two or three" of his own people.

Being an "East Coast guy," Bugel was concerned about moving his family so far away. He said he and his wife Brenda spent many sleepless nights during the three-week interview process.

Bugel, who still aspires to be a head coach, made it clear yesterday that he was never offered the job. He went out to Los Angeles for two interviews -- a week apart -- and then spent a third day (last Saturday) in San Antonio with Walsh, who was assigned by Davis to pick Bugel's brain some more.

Then, last Sunday, Bugel was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles for another interview, and Bugel assumed Davis might be ready to make an offer, though he wasn't sure. At the San Antonio airport, he said he must've got "cold feet," because he called Davis' right-hand man, George Karras, and said he needed another day or two to think. He said Davis got on the phone then and was a little "upset" about the sudden change of plans, but told Bugel he'd call him on Monday.

So, Bugel turned around and flew back to Washington, via Atlanta. In Atlanta, he received a page from Karras, who still wanted to talk. Then, early this week, Bugel decided definitely to stay in Washington, though he didn't give final word to Karras until this last Wednesday afternoon.

When he told the Redskins of his decision to stay, Bugel said Gibbs "gave me a big squeeze and almost broke my number 12 vertebrae."

In the end, really, Bugel had just come to the same conclusion that Dan Henning had. Henning, a Redskins assistant who also interviewed for the job, dropped out of the running for the same reasons. Bugel said it took Henning -- the former Atlanta head coach -- one and a half days to realize it. It took Bugel three weeks.

Davis could not be reached for comment this week.