Falcons choose Petrino

AP/Ed Reinke In a surprise move, the Falcons will announce on Monday that they have selected University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino to be the next leader of the franchise. Petrino accepted a five-year $24 million contract to be the Falcons next head coach, replacing Jim Mora. This past season, Petrino led the Cardinals to a 12-1 season, and a bowl win over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl. Over four seasons as the head man at Louisville, the Cardinals sported a 41-9 record with a 2-2 record in bowl games. The Cardinals at one point in the season were considered a dark horse for the national title, climbing as high as third in the AP poll as they were undefeated through their first eight games. The Falcons are hopeful that Petrino’s past of producing high-powered offenses on the collegiate level will kick start what has been a sputtering passing game in Atlanta the past few years. The Falcons were ranked last in the league this past season in passing offense.

Petrino is no stranger to the NFL, where he spent two seasons as quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999 and 2000, and one season as their offensive coordinator in 2001. That season the Jaguars offense ranked 17th in total offense, 14th in passing offense, and 26th in rushing offense. They did however rank 9th in the league in yards per attempt that season.

After coaching the Jaguars, he served as offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2002, before been hired to head Louisville’s football team. He has spent several years in several programs as offensive coordinator. His first venture at Louisville came in that role in 1998. Prior to that he coordinated offenses at Utah State (1995-97) and Nevada (1994). He was quarterbacks coach for two seasons at Arizona State, working with a young Jake Plummer. He had previous stints at Idaho State (1989-91), Weber State (1984, 1987-88), and his alma mater Carroll College (1983, 1985-86). He was a 2-time NAIA All-American quarterback at Carroll College.

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Aaron Freeman
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