SCSU Coach Rich Cavanaugh on Jacque Cesaire

Chargers Update had the distinct pleasure to talk with South Connecticut State Head Coach Rich Cavanaugh this past week and he filled us in on Jacque Cesaire, an undrafted free agent, who the San Diego Chargers signed just after the 2003 NFL Draft. With Cesaire being an unknown we tried to get some much needed insight on the player and the person.

Jacque Cesaire, an undrafted free agent defensive tackle/end from South Connecticut State, signed with the San Diego Chargers a day after the draft. A four-year starter in the SCSU defensive line, and team captain as a senior, was selected as a NCAA Division II first team All-American.

I was able to corral Cesaire's Head Coach and get some more information as we head towards Training Camp on July 22nd in Carson, CA.

What can you tell us about him as a person and a player?

"Jacque has been an outstanding player for us. He came here as a freshman and we redshirted him. He started for four years after that and has some God given talent. I think what separates him from the other guys at this level is he has a motor that is always running. He is not afraid to go the extra mile. He works hard throughout the year to make himself a better player.

"As a person, I do not think you are going to find a better guy than Jacque. He is a very high moral, high character guy. He was a great leader here for us and he was a great role model here for us."

Did you use Jacque at both defensive end and defensive tackle?

"Yeah we did. He has played as an edge player and then he has played over the guard an outside shade or an inside shade."

Cesaire, at 6-3, 270 pounds had 46 tackles, including seven sacks, a forced fumble and 17 tackles for losses of 66 yards.

Do you think that hurts his standing? I have been watching camp and the Chargers have played him in both spots along the line. I am just afraid he may be a man without a position.

"I was kind of surprised to hear they have been playing him outside to be honest with you. Most of the people that had looked at him had wanted him to gain weight so they could play him inside. I think that was pretty much the gameplan. I think that is what he did – he tried to bulk up a little. I had just recently heard that they had given him an opportunity to play inside so I think that would be a positive thing for him."

Cesaire had played defensive end until he was asked to move inside during his senior campaign.

What was the scouting buzz around SCSU?

"We had quite a few scouts in here starting the spring of his junior year and fall of his senior year. We had a lot of different people come in and we had a lot of different – which is normal for the NFL, it started with a scout they came back and they started talking to me and the trainers and then the next thing you know you are getting calls from the different defensive line coaches or those guys are coming in to look at film on the guys. Yeah he had a lot of interest."

Do you know what made him choose San Diego and did you influence that decision?

"I really don't. I think that was between him and his agent, but I think it was a great choice. You have got to go where you are needed.

"I am good friends with Kevin Gilbride. Kevin Gilbride was the head coach here at one time. My younger brother was a part time coach when Kevin was with the San Diego Chargers. So I have been out to your facility and out to San Diego and really it was like dying and going to heaven. Not only is there a need for Jacque but I don't know if you could end up in a greater city ore greater area."

Has he ever been injured?

"Maybe some minor bumps ad bruises but no major injuries."

How is his run stopping ability?

"I think he is very good. He is the kind of guy who comes off the ball and I think he can get separation and get off and make a tackle. At the same time with the added weight he should be a guy that can take on a double team and free up the linebackers to make plays. I could see him more in that role than a pass rusher."

You said he works hard does that mean his practice habits are good too?

"Excellent. He comes to practice every day with the right attitude going 100 miles per hour."

Over his four seasons as a starter, Cesaire had 206 total tackles with 21 quarterback sacks, four forced fumbles and 54 tackles for losses of 201 yards.

Will it be easy for him to go from being a captain and giving advice to receiving advice as a rookie?

"He is not a big ego kind of guy. I think that he would be more than happy to listen and learn. I think that has always been his approach. I know when he came in here, not that it is the same, but he came in, he saw the situation and he worked hard. He learned from the older players, he earned their respect and then he went on to have an outstanding career."

What kind of defense do you employ at SCSU?

"We are really a 4-4. It was kind of like a pressure package. Jacque has played off the edge from a crouch technique and last year we moved him inside where he played over the guard the three technique outside shade or two technique inside shade."

What does he need to do to become successful in the NFL?

"I think he just needs to be given an opportunity and needs some time to develop. If that can happen, I think he will be a fine player at that level. Unfortunately I know there is a timetable and I think right now he needs to impress somebody quick while they think he is worth spending time with.

"From an attitude standpoint I am sure he will have everything that they are looking for. He is a good guy and has a great attitude and he is a quick learner and I am sure he will use the technique he is taught. Now I am sure it is making the most of every rep that he gets and impressing the defensive line coach and the head coach and making sure that when it gets down to cut time, he is a guy they want to keep around and develop.

How does the team look for the future? "We had an 8-3 year last year and we lost some pretty good players. I think we have a pretty good nucleus coming back and we had a great spring practice. We will see what happens."

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

SD Super Chargers Top Stories