Parson making good transition from Marauders to Roughriders

03/31/02 Bismarck Tribune
It's only one game into the season, but Bismarck's NIFL team seems to have found a diamond in the Roughrider defense.

Former University of Mary standout Nikia Parson has made great strides in adapting to the indoor game, and Roughriders coach Collins Sanders said he's pleased with how comfortable the 6-2, 259-pound lineman is indoors.

"We knew he was a great athlete when we signed him, but we didn't know how well he'd play this game," Sanders said. "He's doing unbelievably well and he's getting better and better all the time."

Parson was glad to get the opportunity with the Roughriders.

But the speed of the game took some getting used to. Even from practice to games the difference has been vast.

"It's just really, really fast. In practice you think you're going after it and then you get to the game and it's even faster," Parson said. "It's just a much, much faster game and you have to hustle, hustle, hustle. Everything looks so much faster and it is so much faster."

With only eight defenders on the field indoors, Parson's responsibilities increase. The defensive end said that -- due to the fast pace of the game -- it's imperative that players at his position don't give up anything on the outside.

"Nothing can get outside because if someone gets out there, they're gone," Parson said. "It's not like in college where there's some help out there, because there's just not enough room. There's a lot of responsibility for defensive ends because of that."

Parson has proven he'll do whatever it takes to improve on the gridiron, and that work ethic has also impressed Sanders.

"Nikia's the type of player that if you ask to stay after practice for anything, you know he's going to do it," Sanders said. "His motor's going 100 percent all of the time and he just wants to keep getting better and better."

That work ethic along with Parson's determination has made him a valuable asset on the defense -- one that Sanders said he hopes turns the U-Mary product into a consistent, every-down player.

"We want him on the field for every snap," Sanders said. "He's a great athlete, and the way he's adjusted to this game is just tremendous. He's turned into a quiet leader out there."

Parson has no problem with that, saying he's more than gracious for the opportunity he's been given by the Roughriders.

"I appreciate everything they've done for me ... and I want to do whatever I can to work my hardest for them," Parson said.

As Parson continues to improve, Sanders said the sky could be the limit for the former Marauder in the NIFL.

"I think he can be one of the premier defensive linemen in this league," Sanders said. "If he continues to improve the way he is improving, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with."

Parson knows that there is still a ways to go before he becomes a dominating force on the line in the NIFL, but he said he's learning things every day.

"I just go out there and work hard and do my best, that's all," Parson said. "I don't think I've totally adapted yet.

"I've done some good things, but I've also done some bad things. There's still a lot to learn."


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