Steelers.com brings you the Ask the Steelers feature. Fans submitted the questions that were asked. Please understand that we receive an incredible number of questions for each player, with many of the questions being similar, and not all of the questions can be answered. We selected as many as possible, and took your questions to the current subject to get your answers.
Cornerback Cortez Allen Part 1
From David Parnell: Are you excited about the opportunity in front of you to start at cornerback full-time?
Cortez Allen: Anybody who plays the game of football has dreams of one day being a starter. At least they should have those kinds of aspirations.
From Jen Neal: What are you doing to prepare for your role as a starter?
Cortez Allen: I am just trying to absorb as much information as I can from the older guys, the coaches and so forth. I want to make sure I am ready physically to make sure I can complete a full season without any hiccups.
From Thomas Aland: What is the most valuable aspect of the offseason workouts for you?
Cortez Allen: Being able to get around the guys and coaching staff and everyone you work with during the season to build relationships. You are going to work if you have that mindset wherever you are, but being able to work with your teammates and coaches that is something you can only do here.
From Justin Davis: What is the toughest thing about playing cornerback?
Cortez Allen: There is very little room for error. A lot of what we do if you make a mistake it's big, it's a touchdown. We aren't like linemen where you have a second level of defense, or linebackers. We are out there by ourselves for the most part. That is why I do it. I like the challenge of being able to go against their best athlete and compete at that level.
From Neil Harrison: How much to the veterans, guys like Ike Taylor, help you?
Cortez Allen: He has been a huge help in my development. I learn so much from him just watching him, how he comes to work and prepares. I am working towards that. I am not there yet. If I can get to the level he is at as far as his work ethic I feel like I can be a lot better athlete. I have a lot of respect for him.
From Albert Hamilton: Carnell Lake is one of my favorite Steelers of all-time. What's it like to have him as your position coach?
Cortez Allen: It's fun. He has a lot of respect for us and demands a lot out of us. His coaching style allows us to grow as individuals. He lets us do what works for us. He is a great coach. He has been in our shoes. He understands. He is laid back. It's been a blessing having him and Coach Dick LeBeau on our side.
From Jess Norris: Who has had the biggest impact on your football career?
Cortez Allen: I would say my mother, Lois Allen. She is a big motivator for me. A lot of what I do, I do for her and my family. Without them I wouldn't be here.
From Scott Connolly: What team do you think will present the biggest challenge to the Steelers this year?
Cortez Allen: Whatever team is on our schedule that week presents the biggest challenge. We can't be successful if we are worrying about the next game.
From Nate Roberts: What are you watching for right before the ball is snapped?
Cortez Allen: The first thing I look at is the formation and then I check the personnel and the splits of the receiver.
From Robbie Turner: In what way did the disciplined lifestyle you encountered at The Citadel prepare you for the NFL?
Cortez Allen: I think I am a lot more mentally tough than some guys. I can handle different things. What I learned there I couldn't learn at any other school.