Richardson, Lake go way back

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 Shaquille Richardson, a cornerback from Arizona, already has that covered.

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.

Lake moved on to the Green Bay Packers in 2010 (coaching intern) and to the Steelers in 2011 (defensive backs coach), and Richardson wound up transferring to Arizona. But the relationship the two shared has remained in place, and they're becoming re-acquainted with one another now that rookie camp has commenced.

"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.

View photos of the 2014 draft picks at Rookie Mini Camp.

"Obviously, you don't need to be 4.3 (in the 40-yard dash) to be a great cover corner. There are a lot of corners out there who are not running a 4.3, but it gives you an added edge. Ike Taylor has played in the league a long time, Cortez Allen is growing in our scheme and they're not 4.3 guys. Ike was close when he came out, and I think he has been able to benefit from his speed throughout the years.

"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."

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