Titans still battling with eye on 2013 season

No playoffs this year, but building for future important

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HIAWATHA — The playoffs are out of the question, but don’t think the Cedar Rapids Titans are simply going to go through the motions over the final three weeks of their first season in the Indoor Football League.

After a week off, the Titans begin a two-game road trip tonight in Omaha against the Beef. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The Titans (3-8) will be looking to avenge a 50-44 loss to the Beef in Cedar Rapids. In that game, poor special teams play doomed Cedar Rapids as the Beef (5-6) rallied to win.

Cedar Rapids is coming off a frustrating performance in a 29-13 loss to Bloomington on May 18. Coach Kyle Moore-Brown said he used the off-week to take a look at all aspects of the team. He said players are being evaluated for the rest of this season and for next season, as well.

“I took some time to take a look at myself and the team as a whole,” he said. “I think it is important we try to get things going in the right direction in our last three games.”

Cedar Rapids’ offensive line was beaten early and often in the loss to Bloomington. As Game 12 approaches, the Titans have had breakdowns in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — that have led to defeats. Through all the struggles, Moore-Brown said his players have continued to battle.

“People have to understand that we are still in a building mode here,” he said. “What we do now isn’t likely to show up this year, but it will next year.

“We haven’t built a program like they have in Sioux Falls. We are still working our way towards that. I believe that we will be at that level someday.”

One thing that could help the Titans tonight would be the return of receiver Eric McCain and running back Travis Rhone from injuries. Rhone has been hampered by an Achilles strain while McCain left the Bloomington game with a leg injury.

“Both of those guys practiced (on Monday),” Moore-Brown said. “We have to be careful with them because this far into a season, you get a lot of guys banged up. Hopefully, they will be able to play against Omaha.”

Moore-Brown knows the Titans will get Omaha’s best tonight. The Beef are in a battle with the Chicago Slaughter and the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks for the final playoff spot in the United Conference. The Titans are in search of their first road victory this season.

“They are a good football team,” Moore-Brown said. “They have a lot to play for, but I think we can beat Omaha if we don’t make mistakes and play our game.”

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