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Carnell Lake
Defensive Backs
College:
UCLA
Experience:
5

Biography

Carnell Lake
Defensive Backs Coach

Carnell Lake is in his fifth season with the Steelers as the team’s defensive backs coach. He was hired by the Steelers on March 7, 2011.

Lake’s coaching throughout the 2014 season guided many young players in the secondary. Cornerbacks Brice McCain and Antwon Blake, who played primarily on special teams throughout their careers, saw significant playing time due to injuries to various players. McCain recorded three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown to seal the Week 5 victory at Jacksonville. Blake saw action in all 16 games, where he recorded one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Carnell Lake
Defensive Backs Coach

Carnell Lake is in his fifth season with the Steelers as the team’s defensive backs coach. He was hired by the Steelers on March 7, 2011.

Lake’s coaching throughout the 2014 season guided many young players in the secondary. Cornerbacks Brice McCain and Antwon Blake, who played primarily on special teams throughout their careers, saw significant playing time due to injuries to various players. McCain recorded three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown to seal the Week 5 victory at Jacksonville. Blake saw action in all 16 games, where he recorded one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

The secondary also got a boost from veteran cornerback William Gay. He set a single-season career-high with three interceptions, all three of which were returned for touchdowns. Gay’s three pick-sixes on the season set a franchise record for a single season, and was tops in the NFL for 2014. Gay’s 128 consecutive games played streak during the regular season is the longest active streak in the league for defensive backs.  

In each of Lake’s first three seasons as defensive backs coach, the Steelers finished in the top-10 in pass defense, marking the first time since 1999-2001 that the Steelers finished in the top-10 in pass defense three straight years.

The Steelers’ secondary finished top-10 in the league in 2013 in numerous categories, including completion percentage allowed (fifth, 57.8), fewest passing first downs allowed (fifth, 174) and fewest pass plays of 25+ yards allowed (tied-eighth, 25).   

Safety Troy Polamalu guided the veteran group in 2013, and earned his eighth Pro Bowl selection for his efforts. Polamalu set a single-season career-high with five forced fumbles. He returned one interception for a touchdown to become just the fifth player in team history to record five career defensive touchdowns. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his Week 12 performance at Cleveland.

In 2012, the Steelers’ secondary led a defense that finished first in the NFL in pass defense for the second straight season, allowing 185.2 passing yards per game. The Steelers’ secondary was part of a defense that also allowed the fewest yards per pass attempt (6.04), the fewest pass plays of 25+ yards (19) and the second-fewest yards allowed after the catch (1,376).

In Lake’s first season in 2011, he coached the Steelers’ secondary that held 10 teams to 170 net passing yards or less during the regular season. Pittsburgh only gave up 21 pass plays of 25+ yards in 2011, which tied for the fewest allowed in the NFL.

Lake played safety and cornerback for the Steelers (1989-98), the Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-00) and the Baltimore Ravens (2001). Following his retirement from football after the 2001 season, Lake worked in a private business before starting his career in coaching with the Philadelphia Eagles during their 2009 training camp and as an intern with the Green Bay Packers in 2010.

Lake was selected by the Steelers in the second round (34th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft and won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award, given annually to the Steelers’ top rookie. Lake went on to earn five Pro Bowl trips (four with the Steelers and one with the Jacksonville Jaguars). He finished his Steelers’ career with 15 fumble recoveries and 16 interceptions. In 1997 Lake was named AFC Defensive Player of the Year, and was later named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.

A three-year starter for the Bruins at outside linebacker, Lake was a first-team All-America selection as a senior (1988) as well as earning the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award. He was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000. Lake finished his college career with 45.5 tackles for loss and 25.5 sacks.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Lake moved to California and attended Culver City High School (Culver City, Calif.). He and his wife, Monica, have three children, Siena, Quentin and Austin.

2009
Philadelphia Eagles
Training Camp Volunteer

2009
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Defensive Backs

2010
Green Bay Packers
Coaching Intern

2011-2015
Pittsburgh Steelers
Defensive Backs

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Related Articles

Recent Videos

  • Lake counting on improved secondary

    (3:01) Posted Jun 10, 2016

    Defensive backs coach Carnell Lake believes good things are on the horizon for the secondary.

  • Lake on safety Sean Davis

    (10:57) Posted Apr 29, 2016

    Steelers DB coach Carnell Lake discusses the team's second-round pick safety Sean Davis.

  • Carnell Lake on physicality of secondary

    Posted Nov 21, 2015

    Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake talks about how his secondary will always be physical, making sure his players are hitting receivers within the rules, and how important it is to make the play before anything else.

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    This series will pick the best 26 players from the Steelers' Modern Era (1992-present).