Falcons pluck defensive assistant from Nick Saban’s Alabama staff

CHH130907019a Richmond at NC St

After the new regime’s first season, there was very little turnover on the Falcons coaching staff. However, there will be attrition following Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot’s second season.

Dean Pees retired shortly following the season finale against the Buccaneers, which has resulted in a total overhaul of the defensive staff. Former Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen was hired to succeed Pees. Nearly every assistant was let go except for Frank Bush, as Arthur Smith and Nielsen fill out the staff.

Former Packers defensive assistant Jerry Gray joined the Falcons, and on Monday, John Brice at FootballScoop reported that veteran coach Dave Huxtable would be joining too.

The 66-year-old has spent his entire coaching career at the collegiate level, spending the last two seasons on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. He’s been a defensive coordinator at a handful of prominent programs, including Pittsburgh, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech. Despite this being his first stint in the NFL, you’d be hard pressed to find a more experienced coach than Huxtable.

He also spent time at NC State as the Wolfpack’s defensive coordinator, which is where his connection to Nielsen comes from. The Falcons new defensive coordinator was the defensive line coach and run game coordinator under Huxtable. The early looks of his staff are impressive from an experience standpoint, but there are more hires to be made.

Photographer: Jeremy McKnight/Icon Sportswire

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