Pugh pumped for first game

August, 17, 2013
8/17/13
6:00
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Last Saturday night wasn't an easy one for New York Giants first-round pick Justin Pugh.

What should've been his preseason debut against Pittsburgh was instead a spectator event for Pugh as he had to miss the game due to the concussion he suffered in practice on Aug. 1.

[+] EnlargeJustin Pugh
AP Photo/Seth WenigFirst-game jitters? Justin Pugh has a few. But he'll be ready when he hits the field Sunday.
"That one hurt," Pugh said Friday. "Obviously I've never missed a significant amount of time. Missed four games at Syracuse. That being the first game, you really want to get out there and play in that one. It definitely was a tough one for me to sit out and watch it."

On Sunday, Pugh won't have to sit and watch. The offensive lineman will play in his first career preseason game when the Giants host the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium at 7 p.m.

Pugh, the 19th overall pick in this year's draft, likely will be playing with the second string. He expects to have a crowd of six in attendance, consisting of his mother, father, brother, sister and a couple friends.

"Can't wait. First live action in a game, get to play at MetLife Stadium," Pugh said. "We played there in college a few times but I was actually injured when we played there. So this is the first time I ever get to step on that field and play a game."

Pugh's concussion put him behind schedule, but he's been catching up since returning to full practice Monday. He's bounced back and forth on the offensive line since joining the Giants, with the team taking advantage of his versatility.

Pugh primarily played left tackle at Syracuse, but he's become acclimated to right tackle with the Giants. While the team told him on draft night it wanted him to be able to play every spot on the line, he hasn't played inside yet.

The lineman is confident he will be able to perform at both right and left tackle when called upon to do so. He acknowledged that learning right tackle was awkward at first, due to some of the differences in footwork and mechanics, but it's become easier over time. He said there isn't much difference switching between the two sides.

"I think I feel comfortable at both positions," said Pugh, who played left tackle with the second string on Friday. "It really just depends on where we need me at any time. Wherever the coaches want me to play is where I'll be at."

Pugh admitted he'll be nervous before Sunday's game, but said he always has nerves before suiting up, and they disappear once he hits the field. He added that he doesn't feel any additional pressure as the team's first-round pick.

"I think when you step out there, I said before, it doesn't matter what round you were drafted in," Pugh said. "You're lining up against a guy, that's the battle, regardless I'm a first-round pick, wherever they're from. Just go out there and play every play and do what I have to do. Do your job."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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