WINNIPEG — They’re tied for the CFL’s worst record at 2-5 but if there’s been a bright spot this season for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, it’s the play of kicker Alexis Serna and punter Mike Renaud.
After finishing last season with a league-low 66.7 field goal percentage, Serna, 24, has connected on 14-of-17 attempts (82.4 per cent) this year, including a career-long 54-yard boot.
One reason Serna gives for his turnaround is the more relaxed working environment under new head coach Mike Kelly. Case in point was Tuesday’s practice in preparation for Friday’s game in B.C. against the 3-4 Lions (TSN, 8:30 p.m. ).
The practice had to be held at a grass football field rather than Canad Inns Stadium, which was being prepared for Saturday’s AC/DC concert.
The grass was high and Kelly jokingly yelled to the five-foot-seven Serna to make sure he was wearing shoulder pads so he could see him.
“So then he came walking out and he had his little contraption that he tees the ball up with, and he’d put a towel on it like a flag and he was walking around holding it up,” Kelly said with a laugh.
“We have that kind of a relationship and I think that’s really helped in his mindset.”
Last season, Serna was often in former head coach Doug Berry’s doghouse, with the boss glaring at him and hunting him down on the sidelines to yell in his face after a miss. Fans were also unforgiving.
“It was definitely tough, but I learned a lot from it,” said Serna, who still thanks Berry for bringing him into the league.
“I feel I’m a lot stronger because of that season.”
• A career milestone earned Calgary Stampeders receiver Jeremaine Copeland the CFL’s offensive player of the week award.
Copeland earned the honour after recording a career-best 11 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-35 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.
Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray was a finalist for the award.
Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive end John Chick was a unanimous pick as top defensive player.
Chick had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Riders 33-23 home win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Toronto Argonauts kicker Justin Medlock was also a unanimous pick for special-teams player honours.
Medlock had a club record-tying seven field goals in the Argos’ 36-28 home loss to the B.C. Lions.
Lions slotback Paris Jackson was named the top Canadian for the second time this season.
He had six catches for 122 yards and two TDs in helping B.C. rally for its win over Toronto.
Montreal Alouettes safety Matthieu Proulx was also considered for the award.