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Posted on Sat, Jan 9, 2010 : 2:18 p.m.

Michigan tackle Mark Ortmann working to improve his draft stock

By Dave Birkett

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Mark Ortmann

Mark Ortmann isn’t generating a ton of buzz as an NFL draft prospect - at least not as much as former Michigan teammates Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren.

But the 6-foot-7, 284-pound left tackle hopes that’ll change when he plays in his final college football game next month.

Ortmann was selected to play in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge Feb. 6 in El Paso, Texas. A native of Klein, Texas, he’ll represent the home team in the game.

“It’s an honor,” Ortmann said. “As long as I can get out there and play I’ll be happy. I don’t really care if I was for the nation or for Texas, I just know I got to get out there and show what I can do.”

One of 3 Wolverines scheduled to play in all-star games - Graham and punter Zoltan Mesko will take part in the Senior Bowl; running back Brandon Minor was scheduled to play in the East-West Shrine Game, but will miss the contest because of a torn rotator cuff - Ortmann might be able to lock up a late-round draft grade with a strong showing.

He said Michigan coaches have relayed “encouraging” things from NFL personnel about his draft stock, and he’s spent most of the past month working out with Graham and Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis in hopes of earning an invitation to the NFL combine.

“Trying to become a track star,” Ortmann joked of workouts that include weight lifting, one-on-one drills and work on sprinting technique.

On Friday, Ortmann spent the final hour of a 3-hour training session working on his 40-yard dash. With a few minor adjustments, he shaved 8/100ths of a second off his first 10-yard split in the run.

“I had the opportunity to go down south and train, but I knew these guys have the best interests for me,” Ortmann said. “They know what I need to work on and instead of going to someplace where they don’t know me and I don’t know them, here we can just hit the ground running.”

Still, Ortmann’s draft stock will hinge on his senior year film and his practices leading up to the Texas vs. The Nation game as much as anything.

As a junior, Ortmann played through a dislocated left elbow that limited his effectiveness. He couldn’t do a push-up for a month after the injury, and finished the season bench-pressing just 225 pounds. By comparison, he did 36 reps at 225 as a sophomore and worked out at 365 pounds on Friday.

Last year, Ortmann had an inconsistent but sometimes impressive season. He played his best games against the best teams on Michigan’s schedule, outdueling Ohio State’s Thaddeus Gibson and dominating Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, but sometimes struggled against lesser opponents.

“Before the Ohio State game I got interviewed by (ESPN analyst) Matt Millen and that whole" broadcast crew, Ortmann said. “It was nice to hear Matt Millen, a former GM (with the Lions), tell me that I shut (Clayborn) down. As long as that film gets out, hopefully that’ll help.”

Ortmann, who started the final 18 games of his Michigan career at left tackle, said he’ll go to the Texas game looking to prove himself as a run blocker.

“My understanding, I’m good on initial contact but they want to see my roll my hips a little more,” Ortmann said. “Just (have to) show I can do that, and then just keep doing what I’ve been doing in pass pro.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 3:29 a.m.

PS loser... Ill take the "embarrassment" of the App State loss + 40 years of greatness over 7-16+1 and an NCAA investigation any day. you are truly stupid. Stupid stupid stupid person. Wake up. Wake up. May God have mercy on your idiotic soul.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 3:26 a.m.

yeah ok blue steel keep embarrasing yourself with your idiocy.... anyone with half a brain will take Lloyd's 122-40 record, NC and 5 BT titles to 7-16+1 and an NCAA investigation by rich rod and company... you are truly miguided and there is no further purpose to speak to you... are you 11 year old or something? idiot.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 6:23 p.m.

hello tom. your satisfaction with one half national championship in 60 years shows your contentment with mediocrity. most realistic M fans are not satisfied with the embarrassment in the alamo bowl, or the losing to DII App. State. but then again, no one is accusing you of being a realistic Michigan fan.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 5:38 p.m.

PS.... your comments about how RR and company are doing are complete and utter trash. 3 Big Ten wins in 2 seasons. Nuff said about that.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 5:36 p.m.

"eat more pizza" was a pretty obvious joke that you didnt get... it refers back to the old Mike Gittleson days when supposedly that was told to the lineman to put on weight before a game... it also has reference now with the hiring of Dave Brandon of Dominos... but hey take it literally if you want to tag it to the days when Michigan actually put a lot of linemen in the the NFL...which is what Mark Ortmann is trying to do. They had a science for that and it worked back then in their training... not so much at all now though under your training GOD Mike Barwis.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 5:13 p.m.

here are the real facts tomhagen. meyer inherited a fla. team designed by spurrier to spread the field with athletes and play "basketball on grass". saban inherited a solid pro style team built by mike shula who never possessed the killer instinct. neither meyer nor saban had to reinvent the wheel. they, along with the vest, merely reloaded with the same type of athlete that was already in place for their system. don't blame rr that his style was that of spurrier but his players were built for shula. rr has nearly had to start from scratch. there is a big difference between a race horse and a plow horse. both have there advantages, but the problem for rr is he had plow horses that were not suited to be quarter horses (so to speak). so this has been a major undertaking to remodel this team to fit rr's style. and yes, it is about style, again, don't blame him. he was hired to coach his quarter-horse style with lloyds plow-horse players. don't get me wrong, i loved lloyd. my brother played for him. he was a great man and a good coach. but not a great coach. he was 1-7 vs. tressel. we needed to make a drastic change and we did. but this is a major operation and granted the surgery has been a bit bloody. but guess what, when this operation is complete, michigan will win a national championship. then you'll either be sorry i was right, or happy you were wrong. here is another fact. rr is not an "awful coach". he is in fact a great coach. the truth is young players...freshmen quarterbacks, 2 seniors with 9 underclassmen starting on defense is exactly opposite of a typical veteran team, new coaches, new schemes (3 defensive coordinators in 3 years) all can lead to some sloppy play. under the circumstances, we did about as good as we could at this point in time. but it will get better. if you look at west virginia's final product under rr, i think you would agree. as for your comments about barwis... it just goes to show how ignorant and bull headed you are about training methods. i believe barwis is much more credible with his education and experience than your babbling about "eat more pizza"! i mean, really! consume more fat? get bigger, fatter, and slower. duh! somehow i think barwis is more qualified than you. that about says it all.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:16 p.m.

bluesteel...this has nothing to do with the "style" of football from the past vs. present, except for one thing: the present team is poorly coached on both sides of the ball...they are sloppy, consistently blow assignments, cant tackle, fumble and drop passes... that is on coaching. Period. It takes a good coach approximately 1-2 years to get it rolling in their program. Just ask Saban, Meyer, the Vest etc etc etc.... This is Michigan and RR had plenty of talent to work with here and he has produced 7-16+1 and has broken every significant streak or achievement that Michigan football had built up in the past 40 years. Due to Rich Rod, Michigan tied for last place in the Big Ten this past season. They are not competitive in the Big Ten...why? Is that because of "syle"? no...its on the coaching staff period. If you think that Michigan has last place Big Ten talent, you are crazy...but that is what they have slumped to...and they are sloppy sloppy sloppy. Rich Rods character issues are another story but Im not even going to go there. He is a bad fit..and he should be replaced now.... the fact that Im standing up for what is right and just in criticizing him and his staff...shows that I care much more about Michigan football than those that blindly follow this awful coach and "hope" that he turns it around. News flash: It aint' happenin' Y'all. Regarding Barwis: Is there a single more overrated and self-promoting S&C coach in college football? No there is not. S&C is not rocket science. It is/should be based on sound physical fundamentals and Hard work... this whole sci-fi stuff about plyos etc. is fine...but the overemphasis on slimming these guys down and doing massive cardio simply does not work for lineman in the Big Ten...on either side of the ball.... there is a lot to be said for bulk and this Michigan team is clearly undersized and more importantly under performing up front. These are facts...not Tom Hagan's or anyone else's opinion. Facts.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 4:39 a.m.

well tom, it's obvious i hit a nerve. but all you do is hate on our new coaches and style of modern college football. that hurts the program more than you realize. if that is your objective, then by all means, hate on, bucky. but you are being totally unfair. bill martin took apart our 40 years of what you might want to call success, when he went in this direction. and you may not like it, but it is the direction we've taken. you are the kool-aidaholic here. you slam the new coaches and style because you cannot let go of the old style of M football (which produced exactly 1/2 a national championship in the past 60 years). the sad fact is, the old regime was beginning to lose to the appalachian states and oregons of the world with regularity. is that what you are trying to hold onto. an average of more than 3 losses per year EVERY YEAR. it was time to shake things up and bill martin has done that. but for god's sake, give it some time. "rome wasn't built in a day". rr and mike barwis haven't even had 2 full recruiting classes hit campus yet. but before rr's first recruiting class graduates, i'm confident you're gonna like what you see. till then, if you can't stop the hatin', just be quiet. you're only trying to destroy what some mighty capable people are trying to build. but somehow, after reading your negative posts day after day, i get the feeling, that's probably what you do best. have a good day.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 3:08 a.m.

PPS: "blue steel": Does the "modernizing" of Michigan Football by Mike Barwis & Company include conveniantly losing or forgetting to document / log important practice and training hours for the NCAA? Apparently DOCUMENTED by the University of Michigan as part of the NCAA Investigation. Does "modernizing" Michigan football include the first NCAA investigation in to the program in over 130 years of playing football? Yes it does. KNOW it. Stop making excuses "blue steel" you are officially drinking the koolaid and the only hater is YOU. Unfortunately for Rich Rod, Barwis and Company...they have NO Seattle Seahawks to run to like Pete Carroll has after his NCAA investigation. Nope. They will have to lie in the bed they made. This is a bed lined with deception and greed...and self delusion. Dont be a part of self delusion "blue steel"....dont be a Brian Cook. Look at things as they ARE. Putrid. Nothing more. That is ALL on Rich Rod. Word to Mark Ortmann: Its OK to RUN...just RUN from Mike Barwis...and keep running to the Pizza place...and eat 2 pizzas on your way to serious weight training. That is the only Method to get you to playing on Sundays.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:14 a.m.

btw "blue steel"...another Q for you: How many Barwis Cardio-X trained Offensive Lineman have actually made it to the NFL and received significant playing time?? A)....whats that??? Oh...that is the sound of more crickets chirping on a peaceful WV night in the barn. aka = 0 zip nada moot end of story.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:06 a.m.

For some odd reason, AA decided to delete my post from last night... and I was not attacking and was not profane...therefore I did NOT violate their standards. but anyway..... I am going to repost again. Anyone from AA who has a problem with my post should re-examine their own standards. To "Blue Steel": You choose to attack me...unprovoked. I did not attack you, nor anyone else. You call me a "hater"...well that is NOT true. I simply call it like it IS. You attacking me make you the loser, along with Barwis, RR and the rest of them. Questions for you "blue steel" 1) How many 6-7, 284 pound Tackles do you see playing on Sunday in the NFL A) None. That is WAY too slim to play in the NFL. Mark Ortmann needs to bulk UP to at least 3 bills to have a shot at playing on Sundays. If he continues with Barwis' "Gold Gym get cut-up" cardio work out...he has 0 chance of playing on Sunday. Eat a Pizza that 2 pizzas. 2) How is Barwis hyper-cardio system doing in the Big Ten? How much is Michigan's O and D line dominating?? A) crickets are chirping because there is no answer to that other than (TERRIBLY) Last Place in the Big Ten for the first time in many many many many years. Swiss cheeze O and D lines Enough Said. Barwis system has had 2+ years and does NOT work in the Big Ten. It does work in the Big Least, or vs. MAC (sans Toledo) or FCS schools like Delaware State... but it does not work in the Big Ten. Stats show this. The record shows this, and YOU know it. Barwis is not "moderanizing Michigan football". He is making it weaker and is part of tearing the foundation down. Heck it may already be down. AA please consider your policy before you delete this. I am not attacking. He attacked me. Period.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 9:15 p.m.

Hey bluesteel: If modernize means "lose unprecedented number of games at a program where 8-4 used to be a really bad year", I know what you mean


Sun, Jan 10, 2010 : 12:03 p.m.

mike barwis is an accomplished winner. tomhagen is just a hater. he despises rr's team working to modernize the program. stop the hatred. go blue.


Sun, Jan 10, 2010 : 2:31 a.m.

Ortmann is a great kid with a high motor....but right now he is too "Barwised" out...he needs to stick 25-30 lbs on that 6-7 frame right away to have a shot in the NFL. Eat a Pizza Mark...


Sat, Jan 9, 2010 : 10:44 p.m.

In case you missed it, Dior Mathis committed to Oregon. Darn it.