Coaches noticed David Brandt when he played at Michigan. They just didn't think he was good enough to draft. Now the Redskins say he might be good enough to start.

Brandt will start at right guard against New England. If he plays well enough, and if Ben Coleman still looks rusty because of knee trouble, then Brandt could end up starting the season opener.

But that doesn't overwhelm Brandt. After all, he started 36 games at Michigan, alongside three linemen who were drafted 43rd or higher this past spring.

Not that Brandt lacked supporters, especially at Michigan, where he owns all the weightlifting records.

''He's freakishly strong,'' Michigan offensive line coach Terry Malone said. ''He's a freak. You knew he added muscle and power, but the thing everyone here says is his toughness. He loves hitting. He loves getting physical.

''Every time a coach came through here and worked him out, they'd say he's good enough to make a team. He wasn't invited to the combine. He didn't have an agent. Yet I knew if he got with the right team he'd have a real good chance. He understands his limitations and he worked as hard as anyone here.''

Brandt also feels he belongs.

''Four years at Michigan and playing in the Big 10,'' Brandt said, when asked why he felt he belonged in the NFL. ''Coming from there I feel I can play anywhere. I played next to great guys and I didn't get as much recognition. But I know I can play at this level.''

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.

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