Both players have been getting reps with the first-team, but ASU head coach Todd Graham said Tuesday after practice Means would be the starting field corner as of today over Brown.
“I think Solomon (Means), he would be the starting field corner with Kweishi (Brown),” Graham said. “I mean, I think we got three starting corners (Carrington, Means and Brown). I think (sophomore corner) Ronald (Lewis) is a guy that is steadily improved. Never played corner and every single day it’s just him learning what he’s doing. (Sophomore defensive back) Chad Adams has done a solid job at the nickel position.”
Means has shown consistent strides of improvement from last season when he played in a reserve capacity.
Brown on the other hand didn’t scrimmage during Saturday’s practice and was a non-participant Tuesday, telling SunDevilSource.com he is rehabbing what he termed a right knee meniscus tear.
“I’ve been practicing on it every day, it just gets worse, but some practices it gets better, I mean it depends what step I take,” Brown said. “Anything can happen so it’s back and forth. It got real bad last Thursday after practice, but I sat out Saturday didn’t practice and today so I’m trying to make it to the Spring Game but time will tell.”
Brown said he sustained this injury at the beginning of spring.
“I was at home doing my own little ball drills and stuff and when I hurt it was when I got back and we’re doing treatment and stuff but it’s getting worse and worse,” Brown said.
Brown said despite the injury, he remains unworried long-term and is just trying to be cautious and not risk anything this spring as it will be his final season of college football.
As of his focus at the moment, Brown said getting healthy, working on not getting fatigued and building his confidence are his main goals.
“When I do mess up that’s when my confidence goes down,” Brown said. “I’m out there worrying about I don’t want to do that again and give up this, you know I get nervous and stuff, but I’m over that stage. It’s my last year. It’s all about improving. I can’t go down.”
“I go out here by myself to do my own little cone drills to get my fitness up, my main thing is my wind. Last year that affected me a lot. My fatigue, but that was main thing. The fatigue all the time.”
Brown said skill-wise, he feels he can get faster once he’s 100 percent healthy, but as of now, Means has the slight speed advantage and that’s what makes him good competition at the field corner spot.
Means said in addition to his speed that Brown alluded to, he got stronger and more physical, putting on about 12 pounds before the start of spring.
Adding more weight and muscle, Means is able to be stronger in press situations and he can have the advantage on wide receivers as well as hold up better against the run or on screens.
Also in the mix for the cornerback spot, but still learning is Lewis. Lewis came to ASU as a wide receiver, but ended last spring practicing as a corner.
“Ronald Lewis is getting better everyday,” ASU safeties coach Chris Ball said. “He’s making the transition to wide receiver and he comes out here every day and competes and he’s learning the little things he needs to know to be a starter and he’s competing, doing a good job.”
Lewis said his focus is getting his technique better, getting the signals down, and like Brown, working on keeping his endurance up so he can stay on the field more and keep up with the wide receivers.
“I just worked on mastering the plays and getting better on my strength and I just get gassed out there,” Lewis said. “I got to drink water more and got to learn to keep up with the people and stay in front. It’s tougher for me because I’m supposed to hydrate more because I have a sickle cell thing so it’s just tough for me because if I don’t hydrate I get tired faster.”
Lewis said going against the group of ASU wide receivers is a great learning experience and the players help him out with positioning and hand placement out on the field.
As a secondary group as a whole, Ball said the players are very close-knit and they all even went to church together on Easter Sunday and have an on-going group text they keep up with.
As for Carrington, he continues to impress and has been having a solid spring so far.
“Lloyd is on fire right now,” Ball said. “On fire. He’s doing really good.”
Graham, who often coaches the cornerbacks group in skill periods, said the team of Carrington, Brown and Means combined with senior safety Jordan Simone, sophomore safety James Johnson and Adams are as solid of a group as ASU has had thus far.
Carrington, Simone and Johnson all were awarded the Tillman jersey to wear.
“The secondary I think is a strength for us even though we have to get more proficient,” Graham said.