O-Line Looks to Bounce Back vs. Iowa

Michigan Sr. offensive lineman Mark Ortmann says the line is to blame for the early offensive struggle versus Michigan State and will work to step up its game versus Iowa.

Question:  Mark you guys obviously went through so many losses last year; is this a different feeling afterwards in terms of rebounding or the week after?

Mark Ortmann:  "Yeah.  As an offense, you can only ask our defense to do so much.  They put in a position to win the game and they've done that twice before and the offense was able to capitalize and as an offense we built a certain confidence that we can do that with two minutes left in the game and it was rather shocking and surprising that we weren't able to do that."

Question:  Even also the last day or so, the reaction to the loss, has it been different than it was last year?

Mark Ortmann:  "Yeah.  I think the difference between last year and this year is just the amount of confidence that we have as a unit, as a team.  I think it was a little shaken up by that loss.  I don't think anyone saw it coming, but it happened and we have to move on."

Question:  What role does Tate (Forcier) play in that confidence and how composed is he compared to other young quarterbacks that you've seen?

Mark Ortmann:  "Yeah at home it is one thing but to go into Michigan State and show the confidence and leadership that Tate was able to show is in my opinion pretty amazing.  You know that he is going to give everything he's got and he showed that in the last two minutes."

Question:  Why was it so hard to run the ball on Saturday?

Mark Ortmann:  "I'm still asking myself that question.  I watched the game three times yesterday.  They gave us some different looks, but looks we've seen before in practice and in games.  So for us not to execute; it's on the lines fault and I take partial responsibility for that and we'll have to improve this week."

Question:  How much do you think it maybe contributes to struggle to have to shift guys; obviously it is on the other side of you, but to shift the whole side of the line essentially?

Mark Ortmann:  "Losing (David) Molk was difficult; he played every snap of last year and showed a lot of improvement throughout the season.  He is one of the leaders among the offensive line this year.  So to lose him was pretty drastic, but we have plenty players on the offensive line with the capabilities of stepping in at any moment and playing.  So just to lose one person is no excuse at all.  Everyone is capable of playing any position on the line."

Question:  You said you watched the game three times… is that normal?

Mark Ortmann:  "Yeah, I usually watch it once or twice on Sunday, but I just couldn't figure out really why we were so unsuccessful in running the ball.  Just trying to analyze it a little bit more."

Question:  Did it help or did it hurt you to watch it over and over?

Mark Ortmann:  "A little bit of both."

Question:  Have you ever played this Iowa team personally?

Mark Ortmann:  "No I haven't."

Question:  Any of the older guys who might have, kind of tell you how physical a team it is?

Mark Ortmann:  "Yeah. I definitely plan on talking to a few players.  It was my true freshman year that I redshirted and that was the last time we played there.  I know it is a hostile environment and Iowa's defense hasn't allowed – I just found out – a rushing touchdown in the last 33 or 35 possessions.  So it is a pretty impressive stat."

Question:  You made that last trip to Iowa, right?

Mark Ortmann:  "No."

Question:  Is it difficult that you guys haven't gone out of state yet.  You guys have played five games and they've all be in state; is the preparation for the travel going to be different?

Mark Ortmann:  "No.  Every away game and even a home game is like a business trip for the team.  You can't take any trip lightly and especially with Iowa undefeated and the way they're playing right now."

Question:  Rich talked a little bit about lack of rhythm in the first half against Michigan State; how hard is that when you're barely on the field?

Mark Ortmann:  "Yeah it's hard.  We had a three and out.  I think we had 21 or 22 plays in the first half as an offense and it is hard as an offense and get into a rhythm and that rhythm is mostly dependent upon the run game.  When we can get out there and run the ball, it's hard.  When we are able to run the ball like we are capable of doing, it builds a confidence among the offense.  I think that is the fault of the offensive line this week."

Question:  When your facing a front four that has shown they can get to the quarterback without having linebackers, safeties or corners; how much more of a challenge does that become for you and how much more difficult does that become because you know those guys have that kind of skill?

Mark Ortmann:  "It's not anything that we can't control.  Especially at the offensive line position – it's all about technique and as long as you are fundamental with your techniques, no one should be able to beat you, no matter the person."

Question:  Do you enjoy night games or do you not like sitting around all day waiting to play?

Mark Ortmann:  "The last night game was last year at Penn State.  It's difficult and as great as some of the younger guys have been in dealing with the pressures, I think it'll add a little bit more this week, just not having been able to sit around the entire day.  It's hard to keep your focus.  I think we'll have to help them with that a little bit."

Question:  What do you do?  Do you watch other games, watch the news?

Mark Ortmann:  "We'll wake up, eat a little bit and rest for the most part, have a few walkthroughs and then eat one more time before the game.  Other than that, it's pretty laid back and you can easily lose your focus."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories