ABILENE, Texas -

Those familiar sights and sounds are so close, football fans! The popping pads, the thundering cheer after players charge through the tunnel and onto the gridiron. Yes, it's time for spring football games!

This Thursday, the Cooper Cougars officially close out spring practices with the Red/Blue game, 6 pm at Shotwell stadium.

Todd Moebes wants Thursday's game to be fun for the kids rather than a game to pick apart plays and execution.

"Our true evaluation is going to be done and over with on Wednesday, and you know, it's just for the kids to be able to get the juices flowing, the football season is about to be here, and get the community involved," Moebes said.

The off season provides plenty of time for Moebes to evaluate who will fill in at key positions in the fall, including quarterback and running back.

Perhaps not as difficult to answer, who will replace the hefty shoes left under center by Lorenzo Joe.

"I think David (Ruot) really separated himself at this point in time. He's had a really, really good spring," Moebes said.

"(He) Made a lot of really good decisions, thrown the ball around with confidence and really stepped into that role as a leader and solidified himself."

The dog-days of summer will also allow the Cougars to keep building in the weight room and conditioning.

"We're moving in the right direction. I mean, we're not a finished product (right now) by any stretch of the imagination but we've been able to answer a lot of questions and be able to bring up some more questions. It gives us a chance to be able to think about those things throughout the summer."