Coach Harbaugh’s Epiphany- New Featured Series
A new series delving into the recent actions and perceived changes in Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s approach to “reforming” Michigan football will be upcoming. Ever since early last fall, the urge has built to expand in detail previous articles identifying Coach Harbaugh’s worldview and preferences for running a football program. This would now and previously did entail how Michigan’s identified problem areas remain after two seasons.
The effort was aborted due to the author having no stomach or inclination to kick old but still smoking embers from before last season, during the season, and certainly after the season back to life, resulting in even more unneeded vitriol. The final coffin closure for the described venture happened as a result of the play of the Michigan team during the Outback Bowl. Five turnovers, blowing a 19-3 lead, misfortune for a new quarterback trying to make things happen and coughing the ball on a stretch effort at the goal line, and on and on. The game was a nightmare, a perfect storm of conditions and factors that turned what should have been a win into a gift to South Carolina. The vitriol was predictable, the “villains” publicly identified and chastised by the ever present day-after quarterbacks. The analysis of and the disappointment in the poor play was warranted, perhaps not so much the personal attacks initiated by a season of tough results that did not match the expectations of all, including the coaching staff.
It was mentioned here, that as the season progressed, it was becoming quite obvious that a mass plan of program evaluation and direction was greatly needed and that the number one mission in December would be to analyze the overall program, derive intelligent strategies for improvement, and get going. There are ways this could have been done. But it seems that, based on recent comments that will be identified later, Coach Harbaugh, as he stated in an interview with Sam Webb, started to think that a process for improvement would eventually be needed as the season progressed. Most of the movement for program change appears to have been thought through and carried out in January and February.
Two factors provided a change of mind, concerning a topic revisit. First, Sam Webb, in his series of interviews with various members of the Michigan coaching staff gleaned comments that can best be described as very telling; a near trove of insights for educated inferences. Secondly, a well respected poster on The Victors Club asked a pertinent question: “Ok you folks with PhD’s in between the lines reading… “ The response was “OK-I can help.”
Psychology is a collection of many sciences and a means of offering explanations for actions. One field is the study of psychological style and typing. Many of you are familiar with the various personality types that have derived from the theory of Carl Jung, enhanced greatly by the additional longtime work of Myers-Briggs. In addition, personality traits have been shown to demonstrate a relationship between personality, and other type theory, and choice of profession. Jim Harbaugh was destined to be a football coach by his life experiences. Whatever his type and preference of worldview, Coach was destined to coach.
One once overlooked, but now highly in vogue, is the theoretical framework of worldview preference as a means of analyzing decision making and actions within a profession, including coaching.
The purpose of this series is to offer potential insights into how preferences may have influenced past actions and future plans. Like all realms of the psychological knowledge base concerning style , pepper’s framework is not foolproof, nothing in the analysis of human action and decision choices is near foolproof. Social science is not nearly as accurate as pure science, that is, for example, the level of significant difference would be very low in experiments regarding bacteria in comparison to determining a significant difference for how color affects adolescent mood.
A stated purpose is not to place blame on any coach, team member, or affiliated staff member. This is not an effort to beat a horse, or provide fodder for those who hold the horse in low regard. The view here is that the program suffered setbacks last year, some setbacks that were clear and correctable, some due to simple personnel shortcomings, and a little bad luck that most teams incur. But, all in all, the recent comments and actions contained within the interviews and announced changes speak to a serious potential for effecting future outcomes.
The methodology of doing analysis through theory interpretation is a start. Such a venture would benefit from anecdotal discourse from primary and secondary sources, who first hand experienced last season’s decision making process and flaws. This is all that can be gleaned, Coach Harbaugh and staff members it may be inferred wanted to send a message to everyone about the direction of the program. The staff clearly would not want to go overboard and turn the information about program change into an inquisition. The decision was clear, provide a framework that acknowledges past difficulties, end the discussion and move on with a positive spin. Not a bad method from this point of view.
This concludes Part One-Introduction. The series continues with: (2) a short description of Pepper’s theory that can elaborate on Coach Harbaugh’s preferences and possible effects on program tenets; (3) a discussion of Coach Harbaugh’s likely worldview preference and concludes with (4) direct evidence of change and inferences gleaned from staff interviews.
Note that inferences are above the level of mere guess if informed by evidence or source. Note further that an inference is merely an informed statement and is subject to fallibility error and changing/fluid conditions (variables). Still, there is value in informed analysis, even if some fallibility is certain. Nothing going forward is meant to disparage the program or assign blame, responsibility, or fault for perceived fan-base shortcomings.
You must be logged in to post a comment.