Serna keeping the faith

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

Alexis Serna hasn't developed a nervous twitch, and he still goes out without a disguise.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers rookie kicker is under the microscope again, as the team approaches its biggest game of the season, Friday, against the visiting Toronto Argonauts.

But if a 1-for-4 field goal performance in his last two games has shaken the 23-year-old's confidence, he's not letting on.

In fact, if there's one thing Serna has in common with former kicker Troy Westwood -- aside from his mediocre field goal percentage -- it's an unyielding belief in his ability.

"I've never lost confidence in myself," Serna said yesterday. "That's a big thing for me."

Judging by the reaction to his 0-for-3 outing against Edmonton, here, 10 days ago, Bomber fans aren't quite so sure.

A product of Oregon State University, Serna says he'd never experienced anything quite like getting booed mercilessly by fans of his team.

"In my own stadium?" he repeated, managing a laugh. "I'd have to say that's a new experience. But it's not too big of a deal. I understand I'm supposed to be going out there and performing my job. It doesn't bother me too much."

And what does he tell himself when it happens?

"Realize it's a game," he said. "Put it behind you. I take it seriously, but at the same time it is a game."

Serna says the negative reaction hasn't extended out in the community.

"Usually people, when they come up to talk to me, they tell me they support me and they've got faith in me," he said. "It's nice hearing that from different people."

Serna thought he'd corrected the problem that caused him to go 0-for-3. After making his first attempt in Edmonton, though, he badly pulled his second, thanks in part to a lack of traction on the grass.

"It was tough kicking in Edmonton," he said. "Planting my foot wasn't too great. The last one I didn't feel too good planting my foot on the ground and I mis-hit the ball."

He's bounced back, again, in practice this week, hitting nine-of-10 the last two days.

But his success rate of 60.5% is the worst in the CFL, raising the possibility he's one of those players who's great in practice, but can't cut it in games.

"And it's not limited to kickers," head coach Berry said of the phenomenon. "Let's hope not."

Berry lauds Serna's confidence, saying "it's a good trait, especially for a kicker, to have... and not go into the tank when you're missing things."

Serna's streakiness, though, could suggest missing kicks does rattle him. That's one of the knocks on him in an online scouting report for this year's NFL draft.

"I just had one bad game since I got back from that bye week," he said. "Other than that, I've been hitting the ball well."

Serna says he'd like his success rate to be around 80%. He'd love the chance to prove it in the CFL over the long haul, but...

"I've got to get through this season, first. Looking ahead is not always the greatest thing."

LATE HITS: Guard Brendon Labatte missed practice again, after suffering more concussion-like symptoms yesterday. He's becoming doubtful for Friday ... The CFL has fined Calgary assistant coach Cornell Brown $2,500 and players Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson an undisclosed amount for confronting an official after their loss to Saskatchewan, Friday ... Players of the week are Hamilton quarterback Quinton Porter (offence), Ticats linebacker Cameron Siskowic (defence), Edmonton returner Tristan Jackson (special teams) and Esks running back Calvin McCarty (Canadian).


Videos

Photos