Pat Hill to coach Falcons offensive line

The Atlanta Falcons, who are bound to have some offseason changes on their offensive line, started the process Saturday night.

The team just announced it has hired Pat Hill to be the offensive line coach. Paul Boudreau, who had been with the Falcons throughout the tenure of coach Mike Smith, was not retained after the 2011 season.

Hill spent 15 seasons as the Fresno State head coach and compiled a 112-80 record while leading the Bulldogs to 11 bowl games. But Hill also has a solid NFL background. He spent five seasons coaching tight ends and the offensive line in Cleveland, when Bill Belichick was the Browns’ head coach. He also coached tight ends and offensive line for the Baltimore Ravens in 1996 before moving on to Fresno State.

Boudreau’s line had a rough 2011 season, especially early on. The Falcons were breaking in a new starting guard, Garrett Reynolds. After Reynolds struggled, the Falcons replaced him with Joe Hawley. Left tackle Sam Baker got off to a bad start and missed time with a back injury. He was replaced by Will Svitek, who remained the starter even after Baker got healthy.

The team may part ways with Baker, a first-round pick in 2008, and almost certainly will be looking for help at left tackle. Veteran center Todd McClure also is scheduled to become a free agent and the Falcons could look to get younger at that position.