Punting job up for grabs

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

He may not have much competition but Mike Renaud could actually kick himself out of a job when Winnipeg takes on the Alouettes in Montreal tonight.

Although the non-import is the only pure punter in camp, import kicker Alexis Serna has handled both jobs in the recent past.

"He's certainly right there competing and he gives us some options because of his passport," Blue Bombers head coach Mike Kelly said recently. "But passport aside, he's punted the ball very well for the last couple of days. Hopefully he can maintain that, and we'll make some decisions after (tonight).

"(Tonight) will be a big night for him -- and a lot of guys."

But Serna spent much of the off-season trying to improve his own punting.

"I worked hard in the off-season," Serna said. "I was working with one of my best friends, Sam Paulescu, in the off-season, punting. We went at it. We'd go toe-to-toe. He'd beat me, obviously, but it was a good measuring bar. He set a real high bar. He played in the NFL last season. He's an NFL punter so, I just tried to keep up with him, and it definitely pushed me this off-season, to try to get better at punting."

LOGAN FAN: While there may be five guys listed at safety for tonight's game, Kelly has been impressed with Ian Logan since last year.

"Playing against him last year, it was like, 'Who's this Canadian kid here?'" said Kelly, who was the Edmonton Eskimos receivers coach last season. "We had Dante Luciani with us, and they were teammates at Wilfrid Laurier. So, he kind of filled me in on Ian and I liked the way he played against us last year. There's a few things that, through more playing time, he'll understand angles better. But when he gets to a point of collision he gets there angry, and it's kind of nice. I like that."

D-DAY: With final cuts coming the day after the team returns to Winnipeg, Kelly is expecting another long night.

"I hope that the guys all perform to a high level (tonight) and Wednesday is more difficult than what last Friday was," he said.

Once the final roster is set, the Bombers will start to prepare for their season-opener against the Eskimos in Edmonton on July 2.

BRIGHT FUTURE: With veteran Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo in the twilight of a great CFL career, the Alouettes were encouraged by the play of QB Adrian McPherson in last week's pre-season game versus the Argonauts in Toronto.

"I thought Adrian kept his poise ... and made plays with his feet," Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman told the Montreal Gazette. "He's got that ability and we want to exploit it. It was a good start for him.

"He's a very charismatic young man who understands the offence. He has a ways to go, but continues to make strides. His No. 1 job is to protect the ball. Then, it's to facilitate moving the ball."

HASHMARKS: The Als cut LB T.J. Hill last week, replacing him with DB Chip Cox. That made room for former Bomber DB Stanford Samuels to move into an inside DB spot. Samuels, however, is coming off knee surgery during the winter ... Montreal long-snapper Cory Huclack, a Winnipeg lad, is out of action with an undisclosed injury.


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