Serna has new outlook

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Alexis Serna found himself in Doug Berry's doghouse several times last season, and the kicker believes he's stronger this year because of it.

"I'm one of those people who takes a positive out of anything, and it was a good experience," Serna said yesterday. "I went through a lot last year, and I'm going to grow from that and just keep getting better from that.

"It was a very, very tough year mentally, physically -- everything -- and it weighed on me a lot. But I went through that, and I know I can go through anything now."

Berry's brutal criticism of Serna's performances was often warranted, as the Oregon State alum made only nine of 19 attempts between 30 and 39 yards and his punting sometimes left a lot to be desired. Bomber fans were not easy on Serna, either.

The new year, however, gives the Los Angeles native a fresh start, not to mention a new head coach in Mike Kelly. Serna already seems more relaxed with the new arrangement and has looked good through three practices.

"(Kelly) has joked with me a few times. We've talked. It's nice," Serna said. "He said he's going to get to know every player, and you could truly believe him.

"He does talk to you and asks you how you're doing, how everything's going, and he'll joke around with you here and there. He's a lot of fun."

STILL NO LENNY: The Lenny Walls holdout entered its third day yesterday, but Kelly would still welcome the defensive back if they can agree on a new deal.

"I've seen it in every league that I've been in. It's just part of the business," Kelly said. "You do the best you can, and you try to keep a line of communication open and you're reasonable about what you're doing and try to have a give and take."

That being said, the longer Walls stays away the harder it might be for him to crack the lineup.

"Every day a guy isn't here it hurts him. It's not hurting us," Kelly said. "We'd like to have him in here, and obviously we think he can be a very positive asset to us, but while he's not here other guys are progressing very well."

LATE HITS: Defensive back Jonathan Hefney finally made it to town yesterday after passport issues delayed him. He took part in yesterday's second practice ... Slotback Romby Bryant appeared to tweak his ankle in the first practice and watched the second. Receiver Derick Armstrong, who had knee troubles last year, also took the afternoon off ... Other players watching yesterday were linebacker Joe Lobendahn (back), safety Shawn Gallant (ankle), defensive back Darrius Battles (foot), receiver Kyle Smith (hamstring) and cornerback Willie Amos (knee).


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