Part of the process for most rookies attempting to make the transition from college to the pros includes getting to know their new position coach.
Steelers No. 5a pick
Richardson initially attended UCLA after having been recruited there by current Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake.
“He was one of the main reasons I committed,” Richardson said. “He was a great coach, he played a long time. And he was a great person, too. I’m really happy to be able to play for him again.”
Richardson actually never played for Lake in college.
“He’s honest and he’s smart at what he does,” Richardson assessed. “He knows so much about me. He was real good (as a player) and he coaches, and I want to coach after I’m done playing, too, so I look up to him a lot.
“He knows what I need to work on.”
Richardson offered a few particulars along those lines.
“I need to work on my eyes, getting back to my receiver at the appropriate time,” he said. “Sometimes, I hang on the quarterback too long. I need to work on staying low. He’s given me a lot of pointers so far.”
Richardson, 6-foot, 194 pounds, brings a combination of size and speed Lake finds appealing.
“I put a premium on speed,” Lake said after Richardson had been drafted. “I think that if you’re not struggling with your speed you can do a lot of things. You can make a lot of mistakes and be able to get right back in and get close to receivers in coverage.
“I think early on being a fast corner (helps) and playing a long time you can slow up a step or two and still be able to cover. These days with the kind of receivers that we are seeing, big, fast receivers, having speed is a good thing. Shaq is probably 4.5-ish. I think that’s fast enough, especially if he’s a good technician.”
Lake’s effect on Richardson should speed the transition to technician and, the Steelers are hoping, to capable NFL cornerback.
It’s one of the reasons Richardson is embracing rookie camp as the first step along the way toward what he believes will be a successful transition to the NFL.
“I do, actually,” he said. “I have very high hopes, high expectations.
“I have a great attitude, a great work ethic. I’m confident in myself and confident in the direction this team is going.”