Mitch Leidner could start Saturday’s game vs. Rutgers, or at least play, if he clears one more stage in the Gophers’ concussion protocol, coach Tracy Claeys said.

“He’s getting closer; it’s possible,” Claeys said Wednesday.

Leidner suffered a concussion Oct. 8 vs. Iowa and missed last week’s tilt at Maryland, with Conor Rhoda subbing in the 31-10 Gophers win.

Leidner returned to practice Tuesday and was cleared for light activity. He had no setbacks when the intensity was ramped up Wednesday. Claeys noted Leidner hasn’t been taking hits, but that’s partly because the team doesn’t allow quarterback hits in practice.

“If he gets cleared, then I’ll visit with [offensive coordinator Jay] Johnson, and we’ll make a decision on what’s best,” Claeys said.

Schedule takes shape

The Gophers announced they’ve added Georgia Southern to their 2019 schedule. So their nonconference games the next three years go as follows:

• 2017: Buffalo, at Oregon State, Middle Tennessee State

• 2018: New Mexico State, Fresno State, Miami (Ohio)

• 2019: South Dakota State, at Fresno State, Georgia Southern

The Big Ten has mandated that members schedule one Power Five nonconference foe per season. Oregon State checks that box for the Gophers in 2017. And the Big Ten has made an exception for independents such as BYU and Notre Dame and certain members of the American Athletic Conference and Mountain West, including Fresno State.

“Otherwise we wouldn’t have done that,” Claeys said. “[The Big Ten] has to approve it.”

Weyler’s versatility key

After coming off the bench in the first two games, sophomore Jared Weyler started at right guard for two games and started the past two games at left guard. He can play center, too.

“That’s really what my goal was for this year — to help the line any way I could,” Weyler said. “I played all three interior positions in spring ball and then throughout camp, so really wherever we needed a fill-in. I’ve been proud to be that swing guy.”

The Gophers are trying to limit right guard Vincent Calhoun’s reps, as he recuperates from the turf toe injury. So for now, Calhoun and Connor Mayes are rotating at right guard, and the 6-4, 305-pound Weyler is anchoring the left guard spot.