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Falcons hire Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator

Falcons hire Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator
Published On: Tue, Feb 07
Nov 3, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneersrunning back Antone Smith (top) hyper extends his knee after being brought down by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Cliff Matthews during the second half of a football game at Raymond James Stadium. Smith left the field on a flatbed cart The Falcons won 43-28. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons have a huge hole to fill with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Surprisingly, Atlanta went outside the NFL to hire former USC coach and Alabama offensive assistant Steve Sarkisian as the teams next offensive coordinator.

Sarkisian has coached just one season at the NFL level. He played quarterback for El Camino Community College and then BYU before suiting up for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League for three years.

The 42-year-old began his coaching career at El Camino, but in the middle of the 2001 season season, he joined the coaching staff at USC as a quarterback coach. He held the same position with the Oakland Raiders in 2004 but returned to USC a year later.

In 2009, Sarkisian became head coach at Washington. He returned for a third stint at USC as Trojans head coach in 2014, but he was fired midseason in 2015. As a college football head coach, he went 46-35.

This past season, he was an offensive analyst for Alabama, but Sarkisian called the plays for the National Championship Game after Lane Kiffin left for his new head coaching job.

Under Shanahan, the Falcons had the No. 1 scoring offense in 2016. They averaged 33.8 points and 415. 8 yards per game, which was second-best in the NFL. But Shanahans decision to throw the ball with an eight-point lead and the ball in field goal range with a few minutes left in Super Bowl LI will likely be his last memory in Atlanta.

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