It's not often that a football team's defensive line coach and kicker are close, but that's the case with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
When struggling placekicker Alexis Serna missed a 36-yarder on the final play of the first half on Friday night, D-line boss Richard Harris put his arm around the youngster's shoulder and walked with him to the locker-room as the boos rained down.
"Me and coach Harris, we have a little bit of a bond together," Serna said.
"He's definitely a great coach, and he's a really nice guy. I really appreciate his help."
Serna said Harris reminded him to focus only on himself and the ball, and to block out everything else. It was good advice, because Serna's successful 34-yarder in the fourth quarter provided the winning points in Winnipeg's important 25-16 win over Toronto.
It doesn't mask the fact, however, that the Oregon State product has made only two of his last eight attempts and that his overall success rate has dipped to 60%.
Despite those dismal digits, head coach Doug Berry is going to continue to stick with the 23-year-old.
"For anybody that's been here at practice, I hope they understand what the decision making is," Berry said. "We go on what we see in practice, and he's just been outstanding in practice."
HEAPING PRAISE: Everyone on offence is getting credit for their roles in helping Fred Reid (106) and Joe Smith (101) both hit the century mark on Friday, but the offensive line looked like the happiest bunch in the locker-room afterward.
"O-linemen are O-linemen for a reason," Berry said. "It's not because they like to backpedal and push their hands out all the time. They like the physical aspect of it, and when you can be successful in the running game, that means more running plays are going to be called.
"It's a great feeling for them inside to say, 'Now let's run over me. It's my turn.' We were getting into that attitude (Friday) night."
The team's PR department, by the way, is still trying to determine if that was the first time two Bomber running backs had 100 yards in the same game.
It likely happened on Sept. 24, 1975, when Winnipeg had a club-record 349 rushing yards against Hamilton, but the individual stats from that game haven't been located.
If you have that info, don't be afraid to fire off an e-mail.
COLD SPELL: Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn wasn't at his passing best against the Argos, but he said their defence presented plenty of problems.
"They were just mixing it up a lot," said Glenn, who completed 14 of 31 attempts for 153 yards, two TDs and two picks. "A couple of times they go with a particular defence two times in a row, and then they'll switch it up. So we're thinking they're going to do this and then they don't.
"It's tough when you've got a defence that does so many things and is executing it like that, too."
Glenn also had trouble when he rolled out to his left, but Berry said that was a coincidental and necessary evil because the ball was more often than not spotted on the right hash marks.
"It just wasn't a great night for him rolling out to his left," Berry said.