Junior strong safety Lamon Means combines intensity with brute strength
By Liz Heidenreich
Arizona Athletics Media Relations
For the members of the Arizona football team, the months of August through January bring physical practices, intense workouts and demanding games. The pressure to perform consistently every Saturday throughout the season can be mentally and physically tiring.
For junior strong safety Lamon Means, it does not make a difference if it’s opening day or the final game of the season; he approaches each and every hit throughout the season with equal intensity. That intensity, combined with Means’ brute strength, can leave opposing players wondering what hit them.
“Lamon is very strong,” defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mark Stoops said. “He is a physical player who has a lot of athletic ability. Usually when he comes and hits you, you know it.”
Means’ Wildcat teammates also have taken notice of his ability to hit hard in big situations. Fellow junior safety Darrel Brooks attributes Means’ powerful hits to his superior athleticism.
“Lamon is just an all-around athlete,” Brooks said. “He comes up with big plays at crucial times. He is a hitter. You can always look forward to him coming down and hitting someone real good. We have our own battles in practice and I’m sure there are opponents who are afraid to face him.”
On the field, Means relies on his strength and power to carry him through the season. Away from the confines of Arizona Stadium, he counts on something more sentimental to guide him through the year. Means credits his success to his mother’s continuous support.
“My mom is my support system,” Means said. “She watches as many games as she can on television and she makes it out to Tucson for at least one game a year.”
Although Means does not get to see his mother on a consistent basis, he does not have to look far to find a piece of home. He is one of 26 members on the Arizona football team that hail from the state of Texas. The Texas presence has helped Means feel at ease through his experience at the U of A.
“It is nice having so many players on the team from Texas,” Means said. “It makes it feel more like home. In Texas, football is really big. The guys understand how I feel and they are just as up to the challenge as I am.”
The “challenge” Means speaks of is the one brought on by head coach Mike Stoops and his coaching staff, and Means and his teammates have accepted that challenge. He also has accepted the role as one of the leaders of the Wildcat defense.
“Lamon has been a leader since we’ve been here,” Mike Stoops said. “He works really hard on his game and he is looked upon for leadership by our young guys in the secondary.”
With the addition of youth in the secondary, Means and Brooks have acknowledged their roles as leaders, and have used their experience to pilot the Wildcat defense.
“Lamon and I communicate really well,” Brooks said. “We have built a strong relationship back there together and we are comfortable with one another. Now we’re at a point in our careers where we have played together long enough that we understand each other. Together, we have taken the big brother role. We try to be the nucleus to the secondary.”
Means has quietly and consistently been a part of big plays throughout his career as an Arizona Wildcat. He feels his biggest play came last season in Arizona’s 27-22 victory over Washington at home.
“My proudest moment was the game against Washington last season,” Means said. “When they were driving to score, I knocked the ball down and helped us to win the game.”
The Wildcats will look to produce more victorious moments this season, and Means has no doubt in his mind that Arizona is capable of going all the way.
“I think we can win a national championship,” Means said. “It will take hard work, dedication and commitment, but I know we can do it.”
He has high expectations for the team, as well as for himself, and he recognizes that he can only take it one hit at a time. Regardless of what the Wildcats are able to accomplish before he graduates, his hopes for his legacy are simple. When asked how he wants to be remembered, Means simply said...
“As a heck of a football player.”
Article first appeared in the Sept. 25 Arizona football game program