Surprise, you're starting.
That's what Giants coaches told Mitch Petrus about two hours before kickoff on Sunday.
It was Petrus' first NFL start, so a few veterans tried to convince the kid to relax.
"Alright, I’ll work on being calm," he told them.
Good luck with that.
Tranquility doesn't come naturally to Petrus, a 6-3, 315-pounder the Giants drafted in the 5th round in 2010.
"He's an energetic guy," David Diehl said with a grin.
That energy helped Petrus fill a hole on Sunday.
The 24-year-old started at left guard and Kevin Boothe shifted over to center due to David Baas' late scratch due to headaches.
The patchwork line performed well. Behind it, the Giants ran for 100 yards on 20 carries. It was the first time they'd reached the century mark since a Week 9 win over New England.
Also, Eli Manning was hit just three times.
The day after the game -- a 38-35 Giants' loss -- Tom Coughlin went out of his way to compliment Petrus and the rest of the line.
“I liked his attitude and the way he went about it,” Coughlin said of Petrus, who holds an NFL combine record for benching 225 pounds 45 times. “He just went to work and trusted himself and trusted his preparation.”
Is Petrus prepared to take over for the rest of the season?
He may not have a choice.
Baas missed practice on Wednesday with headaches and it is not clear when he will return to the field. So Petrus could be the Giants' starting left guard for the rest of the year.
And if so, he's more than OK with that.
"I wanted his opportunity and I want to make the most of it," he said.
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