The Atlanta Falcons have announced former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian as their offensive coordinator, replacing new San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Sarkisian, who will turn 43 next month, was an offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide before he took over as offensive coordinator for Alabama in the College Football Playoff title game after Lane Kiffin departed to become Florida Atlantic’s head coach. Sarkisian was previously the head coach at USC and Washington. Sarkisian’s only NFL coaching experience came in 2004, when he was the Oakland Raiders’ quarterbacks coach under then-head coach Norv Turner.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team’s offensive system won’t change with Sarkisian at the helm. “We love the way that we attack, and it took a lot of work to put that system in place,” Quinn said. “Along with Thomas [Dimitroff, the Falcons’ general manager], we have a real emphasis now on how we can fit guys into that system. It’s very important that we stay consistent with that.” Quinn also praised Sarkisian’s willingness to take risks on offense. “I felt, No. 1, what an aggressive playcaller he’s been through the years,” Quinn said. “He has a real familiarity from the wide zone scheme, the keepers that are such a big part of what we do.”

Sarkisian will be MVP quarterback Matt Ryan’s fourth offensive coordinator since the 2011 season, joining Mike Mularkey, Dirk Koetter and Shanahan.

USC fired Sarkisian in October 2015 after then-athletic director Pat Haden said the coach showed up to school in no condition to lead practice after an embarrassing public display earlier at a pep rally where he appeared to be intoxicated while giving a speech. He later sought treatment for alcoholism and sued USC alleging the school breached his contract and discriminated against him on the basis of a disability.

Quinn said the Falcons vetted Sarkisian and said there were “zero hesitations, zero limitations” in deciding to hire him. “We went through the process to check and make sure everything would align with our organization in terms of cultures and values,” Quinn said. “Honestly, he’s done a fantastic job.” Quinn also said he had thought of Sarkisian as a potential replacement for Shanahan since last spring. “I knew how good Kyle [Shanahan] is, so I think I wanted to make sure I had contingency plans in place if [Shanahan leaving] happened,” Quinn said, adding that he contacted Saban before approaching Sarkisian about the position.

Sarkisian was Washington’s head coach from 2009 to 2013. He went 12-6 at USC and 34-29 at Washington, which had won just 12 games during the five seasons before his arrival. He was also offensive coordinator at USC in 2007-08.

Sarkisian will have a fully loaded offense to work with, including Ryan, All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman and fellow running back Tevin Coleman. But he has big shoes to fill, as Shanahan guided the Falcons to the top-ranked offense in the NFL at 33.8 points per game, a crucial factor in the Falcons’ run to the Super Bowl. His first order of business will be to help in the search for a new quarterbacks’ coach as Matt LaFleur, who served the position the last two seasons, is expected to become the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams.

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