Cal coach Sonny Dykes, who suspended Maximo Espitia for the season for a team rules violation on August 4, confirmed Thursday after practice that the junior linebacker has been reinstated and is available to possibly play Saturday against Washington.
“It was for a year and it was going to be based on some conditions for him to get released. Quite frankly, we didn’t know if it was going to work,” Dykes said. “He did everything we asked him to and then some, so we reduced the suspension. That’s the way it played out.”
The decision to reinstate Espitia, Dykes said, was made by the athletic department.
Dykes reiterated that Espitia’s suspension was not because of a legal or academic issue.
Back in August, Dykes described the situation as “pretty serious,” and said his return to the team was not automatic.
Dykes said Espitia, from Salem, Oregon, has been conditioning in the weight room for the past month and is in good shape.
“He’ll play Saturday,” Dykes said. “I don’t know how big a role he’ll have. He’ll have a role on special teams for sure. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Click here to see my answers to five questions posed by Adam Jude, UW beat writer for the Seattle Times.
And here for Percy Allen’s column in the Seattle Times on Cal quarterback Jared Goff, of whom longtime Cal broadcaster Joe Starkey said, “Goff is on track to becoming the best player this school has ever produced.”
On the Cal injury front:
* Sophomore RB Khalfani Muhammad, who broke the thumb on his left hand on Saturday at Washington State, had surgery early this week and practiced Thursday while wearing a cast. “I would expect to see him on Saturday,” Muhammad said.
* Junior safety Stefan McClure, the team’s best defensive back, remains uncertain for Saturday with a calf injury. He has missed the past three games, during which the Bears’ pass defense has been lit up. “Lingered longer than I thought it would, Dykes said. “One of those things where you’ve got to be really careful. If you bring him back too quickly you could set him back. We’ll see. We’d like to have him.”
* Junior safety Avery Sebastian, a starter in the opener a year ago before sustaining an Achilles tear, is cleared to play after missing two of five games this season due to various ailments. ”He practiced all week and actually looked the best probably today he’s looked maybe since last year,” said Dykes, who would not rule out the possibility Sebastian could start.
* Junior WR Darius Powe, who missed the past two games with a shoulder injury, is cleared and will play, Dykes said. Powe caught nine passes in Cal’s first three games, and leads the Bears with a 20.9-yard per-catch average.
* Sophomore linebacker Edward Tandy remains out with concussion symptoms.