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ATLANTA -- Wasting no time in starting to assemble his staff, new Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino has hired Hue Jackson as his offensive coordinator.
Jackson, 41, served as the Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers coach the past three seasons.
Petrino said Monday, during his introductory press conference, that he will call the plays, just as he did during his four years as the Louisville head coach. Jackson, though, figures to have considerable input into game preparation and, as coordinator, will interact with quarterback Michael Vick.
The communication with and handling of Vick will be a key as the new Atlanta staff attempts to make him as effective as possible. Sources said that Vick would have preferred that any new head coach retained the current Atlanta quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, as offensive coordinator.
The Atlanta offensive coordinator for the past three seasons was the much-maligned Greg Knapp.
It is not known if Petrino has targeted any other assistant coaches for his first NFL staff. Falcons brass is expected to make suggestions from members of the current staff, but Petrino has control over the composition of his assistants.
Petrino and Jackson were on the same staff together at Arizona State from 1992-93 and the two have remained close friends.
Jackson began his pro coaching career with the London franchise of the NFL Europe League in 1991. He was the offensive coordinator on Steve Spurrier's staff with the Washington Redskins in 2003, then joined the Cincinnati staff in 2004. He has also served on four college staffs.
-- Len Pasquarelli