With his first set of practices now behind him, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cornerback Shaquille Richardson has finally gotten the chance to be coached on a field by CarnellLake, who initially recruited him to go to UCLA. As a result, the Arizona product already knows several things that he needs to work on in order to get better.
“I need to work on my eyes, getting back to my receiver at the appropriate time,” Richardson said. “Sometimes, I hang on the quarterback too long. I need to work on staying low. He’s [Lake] given me a lot of pointers so far.”
Richardson is the second fifth-round cornerback that Lake will work with in as many seasons. Last year, Terry Hawthorne was selected in the fifth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but after a knee injury caused him to miss most off the offseason practices and training camp, he was gone as quick as he arrived.
With veteran Ike Taylor now likely entering his final year in the league, the Steelers hope that Richardson will be his successor in 2015 and it’s up to Lake to make sure that happens.
“He’s honest and he’s smart at what he does,” Richardson said of Lake after a practice. “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.”
Being as the Steelers only selected one cornerback in the draft this year, Richardson knows that he has a golden opportunity to excel. In addition, he also knows that there’s some pressure that comes with that distinction.
“Sure, but I think I do best under pressure, so I’m excited to come in here and fill any void that they need me to fill,” he said.
With the rookie camp now behind him, Richardson might have to wait a while before showing more as head coach Mike Tomlin listed him as one of two draft picks that could miss OTA practices because of college graduation rules. Arizona is on the semester system, however, so we’ll have to wait and see if this gets straightened out in Richardson’s favor.
Either way, Richardson believes in himself and his abilities.
“I have a great attitude, a great work ethic. I’m confident in myself and confident in the direction this team is going.”