Steve Sarkisian, 42, who served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, agreed to terms with the Falcons to replace Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator Tuesday.
Sarkisian was the head coach at Washington and USC, where he left over an alcohol problem in 2015.
He was the quarterback coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2004, but has never called play in the NFL. Norv Turner was the head coach, and Jimmy Raye was the offensive coordinator for the Raiders that season.
Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant played for Sarkisian at Washington.
“That’s my guy,” Trufant said. “I went through a lot with Sark during my college days. I was in his first recruiting class.
“He came to my house and recruited. He’s a dope guy. A very strong guy. A leader. Very passionate about the game.” He definitely could get the job done.”
Sarkisian was 34-29 in five seasons at Washington. He was hired by USC in 2013.
Before the College Football Playoff Championship game in January, Alabama coach Nick Saban promoted Sarkisian to offensive coordinator to replace Lane Kiffin.
Sarkisian played quarterback at Brigham Young and played professionally with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.
The Falcons are now in the market for a quarterback coach, as the Rams are expected to hire Matt LaFleur as their offensive coordinator, accoring to multiple reports.
The hiring of Sarkisian will allow the Falcons to remain in the same West Coast outside-zone scheme that they ran under Shanahan.
The Falcons were prolific in that offensive attack, as they led the NFL in scoring with 540 points.
Shanahan was named the league’s assistant coach of the year while helping quarterback Matt Ryan become the league’s MVP.
The offense also broke franchise records in total yards per game (415.8) and yards per play (6.7).
Shanahan spoke to the team Monday before leaving for San Francisco.
“It was just a privilege for him just being a part of the brotherhood that we created,” All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones said. “He learned a lot from us, and we learned a lot for him. It was difficult for him to leave, but at the end of the day he had to do what was best for him and his family.”
Jones believes the players will be willing to adjust to Sarkisian.
“It’s football,” Jones said. “It’s like week to week, there are different game plans. We have to learn new material every week. He’ll come and we’ll get it done. We are talented on the offensive side of the ball to pick up new things and get the ball rolling.”
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