Petrino swiftly hires Zimmer, Jackson as coordinators

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Bobby Petrino wasted no time in finding his defensive and offensive coordinators.

A day after being introduced as Atlanta's head coach, Petrino reached agreements Tuesday with Dallas defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Cincinnati receivers coach Hue Jackson to be his right-hand men with the Falcons. The hirings were confirmed by an official in the league Tuesday night, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they hadn't yet been announced.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported the agreement between Petrino and Zimmer on Tuesday.

Petrino said Monday he wants the Falcons to run a 4-3 defense.

"One of my critical hires will be my defensive coordinator," Petrino said Monday. "It's certainly going to be very important to me. I want to be able to play the game very aggressive and be able to come after the quarterback. Obviously, you have to stop the run first."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the discussions with Jackson, who was the Bengals' receivers coach.

Petrino plans to call the plays during games, but Jackson is expected to run the offense in practice and help coordinate the offensive game plans.

Jackson, 45, has been with the Bengals for three years. He was the Washington Redskins' running backs coach in 2001-02 and the team's offensive coordinator in 2003.

Jackson was a college assistant for 14 years, including Southern California's offensive coordinator from 1997-2000.

Zimmer will replace Ed Donatell, who served as defensive coordinator under Jim Mora Jr. Jackson will replace Mora's offensive coordinator, Greg Knapp.

Petrino plans to retain two assistants from Mora's staff, quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave and running backs coach Ollie Wilson, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Zimmer, 50, has worked with the Cowboys for 13 seasons and took over as defensive coordinator in 2000. He has agreed to a two-year contract, according to the Dallas paper. His contract with the Cowboys was expected to expire this offseason, and his future in Dallas was uncertain with coach Bill Parcells' status unknown.

Zimmer worked with Petrino at Weber State in 1987 and `88. Zimmer's Dallas defense led the NFL in 2003.