Steve Sarkisian says he DEEPLY appreciates his offensive coordinator job at Alabama ... but admits he does want to be a head coach again one day -- when he's ready.
TMZ Sports spoke with Sark at LAX -- and he shot down critics who blamed Bama's loss in the National Championship game on the switch-up at O.C. days before ... when he replaced Lane Kiffin.
"Everybody has an opinion," Sark said ... while admitting, "We probably didn't play our best."
The game capped off Sark's first season back in college football after he got fired from USC and addressed his battle with alcoholism.
But with all that behind him, does he ever see himself being the face of a college football program ever again?
"Sure, I'd love to ... a lot of work to be done before that."
In the meantime, Sark says he's "lucky to be at Alabama and work for Coach Saban."