Jonathan Hardy, BYU
Mike Littlewood, who spent 16 years as Dixie State's baseball coach, begins his first season at the BYU helm next weekend.

Q: What kind of identity do you want to establish for this program?

A: "I want to be a hard-nosed team, a mentally tough team, a team that's going to compete. Whether we're down six runs or up six runs, we want to come out with the same approach. I want to be gritty and hard-nosed. That's the kind of guys we are. You can see the culture changing a little bit. We want to establish an atmosphere where when we step on the field, we expect to win."

Q: It's been a number of years since this team has played in the NCAA tournament (2002). Can this program compete with the upper-echelon of college baseball?

A: "There's no doubt this team can. We have all the resources, we have all of the facilities. Everything is in place. We just need more, better players. That's the only thing. I would put our small amount of guys up against anybody. We just need more of those guys. We just don't have a lot of depth. My role this year is to take those 35 guys on our roster and find out how to get the most out of them."

Q: Is this a dream job for you?

A: "Absolutely. When I coached Skyline American Legion when I was in my teens, that was a dream job. So was Alta (High) and Dixie (State), just because I love coaching baseball. If I had a real job, I'd be coaching Little League, probably. You add the spiritual aspect of it, obviously for anybody with our (LDS) faith, it's a dream job. It's a great place to be."

Q: What's been the biggest difference so far, moving from Dixie to BYU?

A: "The baseball's the same. The players are probably more athletic. The biggest thing is the support system. I was in the office one day, and they were introducing me to everybody. They named about eight people who are the support system. I said, 'Man, I did all those things (with his assistants' help at Dixie).' That's the honest truth. Those are things we did. We drug the field, we swept the dugouts, we did everything. It was great — don't get me wrong. But when you have 100 percent of your time focused on the student-athletes, it's a pretty special thing."

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Q: Which players will you be counting on most this season to make an impact?

A: "Desmond Poulson is going to be our No. 1 starter. He's a guy we expect to give us seven or eight quality innings every start. Guys like James Langal, Jeff Barker and Adam Miller are going to have to step up and have good years on the pitching side. On the offensive side, Jaycob Brugman, Kelton Caldwell, Adam Law and Brock Whitney — we can't afford to have them underachieve this year. We're expecting a lot from a lot of different guys."