Lions running on empty

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

Think the Winnipeg Blue Bombers running game is in shambles?

Check out what B.C. Lions head coach Wally Buono had to say about his ball carriers yesterday.

"Our running game has been ... what do you call it ... nonexistent," Buono said. "To have a 2.5-yard average per carry is not very good."

To make matters worse (or is it better?) last year's CFL rushing king, Joe Smith, won't play tonight because of a sore shoulder. Rookie Stefan Logan, a 5-foot-7 scat back who goes by the nickname of Joystick, will haul the rock for the Leos in his first CFL contest.

"We're going to give Stefan a chance to go out and do what he's gotta do," Buono said, "which is help us win the football game."

The Bombers have seen Logan carry the ball only 10 or 12 times on film, and that was during the pre-season. He actually looks kind of familiar to the Bombers.

"He reminds of a back we just finished playing in (Montreal's Avon) Cobourne," Bombers head coach Doug Berry said. "He's fast, he's powerful. He can run through an arm tackle, has great speed. He looks like he can bring some excitement."

BUTTER FINGERS: Winnipeg kicker Alexis Serna has played two CFL games, and his dropped snaps in both of them resulted in turnovers that translated into touchdowns.

"They hurt us tremendously," Berry said. "We can't turn the ball over inside our 20-yard line, especially that way. ... Maybe it's three strikes and we're out, and we've had our three strikes at it."

(Duncan O'Mahony also dropped one in a pre-season game.)

So, has Serna been having nightmares over his botched snaps?

"That was last week, we've got a game (today), and we're just getting ready for the game," the rookie said. "People are going to bring it up, but it's always going to be in the past. You can't live in the past. You've got to live in the now."

But what will be done to correct the problem?

"Catch the ball," he replied. "There's nothing special about catching the ball ... It's a basic technique that everyone should be able to do, so it's something that I should be able to do.

"It will be a fun game. Both of us are trying to get our first win, so it will be exciting to get out there and play again. That's all we can ask for, to have an opportunity to come out and play. That's what the team's giving me, so I'm going to come out and try to help my team win."

ANOTHER FIRST: Bomber linebacker Joe Lobendahn will make his professional football debut tonight against the Lions, playing on three special teams.

The 25-year-old hails from Honolulu, but isn't sure if they can get CFL games on TV in Hawaii.

"I don't think they do, but my family is trying to see if they can get a satellite or something like that," Lobendahn said. "I'm not sure if they broadcast it that far."

The Bombers want to see what Lobendahn, who starred for the University of Washington Huskies, can do on special teams and perhaps in some second-and-long defensive situations. He is replacing Marcus Winn on the active roster.

BISHOP MOVE: On the heels of a rumour that the B.C. Lions may be interested in Toronto quarterback Michael Bishop came the revelation that the Argos had placed him on recallable waivers. While some believe the Argos were looking for feelers for Bishop, those in the know say such a move means nothing.

B.C. released veteran QB Dave Dickenson over the winter, and Buck Pierce has been battling with injuries the last few years.

Jarious Jackson, who started last season as the third-stringer, is now the No. 1 QB.

LATE HITS: The Lions are 4-1 at Canad Inns Stadium since 2003. They're 5-1 if you count the 2006 Grey Cup ... For the second game in a row the Lions will be without left tackle Rob Murphy, the CFL's offensive lineman of the year in 2006 and 2007. He is at home in Florida, where his wife recently gave birth to triplets. Buono said Murphy's replacement, 6-foot-9 Walter Stith, didn't miss a beat last week against Saskatchewan ... As of yesterday afternoon, the Bombers had sold approximately 24,506 tickets for tonight's game.


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