Alabama fans have always taken pride in not having a Heisman winner as part of the program’s history.

It’s a strange statement to make, but it’s true. Alabama, through more than 120 years of football, has seen its share of great football players come and go — pro quarterbacks like Namath, Stabler and Todd, and great backs like Musso, Bobby Humphrey and Shaun Alexander. There have been great receivers, like Ozzie Newsome and David Palmer. And there was John Hannah, arguably the best offensive lineman to ever play the game.

And yet none of them ever won the Heisman for a variety of reasons.

“At Alabama our players do not win Heisman Trophies, our teams win national championships,” Bear Bryant once said.

There is some truth to this, but it is equally arguable that those players fell short of the Heisman because Alabama never really operated an offense that featured one player.

The Tide has operated with at least two tailbacks splitting carries for the memorable past with a few exceptions (like Shaun Alexander or Kenneth Darby). Alabama has almost always been devoid of a single feature back, preferring a backfield committee to handle things.

This has been true regardless of who called the plays, even into the Saban era. Terry Grant and Glen Coffee; Coffee and Mark Ingram; Ingram and Trent Richardson; Richardson and Eddie Lacy; Lacy and T.J. Yeldon; Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry; Henry and Drake.

The shift that propelled Henry to the Heisman Trophy in 2015 began in midseason, when Alabama ventured to Texas A&M. In College Station, Henry set a personal single-game record for carries with 32, chewing up the Aggies for 236 yards (7.4 yards per carry).

It was a mark that wouldn’t last. Three weeks after decimating the Aggies, Henry touched it 38 times for 210 yards against LSU, then got a slight respite with only 22 carries vs. Mississippi State (for 204 yards).

The State game was where things really changed, mostly because Drake broke his arm covering a punt. Two weeks after that, at Auburn — with Bama needing to salt away a tenuous lead in the fourth quarter and no one on the bench that the coaching staff could trust — Henry got an eye-popping 46 carries, finishing with 271 yards. The next week brought 44 more carries, for 189 more yards against a rock-solid Florida defense in the SEC Championship Game.

If you’re keeping score at home, that means Derrick Henry got almost 100 more carries in the latter half of the season than he did the first half (he was at a mere 120 carries through the Arkansas game). He rewarded the coaches’ faith with over 1,300 yards in that stretch, and won the Heisman.*

Remarkably, Henry finished with 602 carries for his three-year career at Alabama: 395 of those carries came in 2015; were he to stay another healthy season, he would almost certainly shatter Alexander’s all-time career mark of 727.

It is unlikely that particular sequence of events will repeat itself for Alabama in 2016.

With Henry and Drake departing campus, the roster features a crop of inexperienced talent; the leading returning rusher is Damien Harris, with all of 46 carries for 154 yards and a touchdown to his credit.

Expect Bo Scarbrough to get a look this spring as well; the rising sophomore was No. 3 on Bama’s depth chart before he tore his ACL last spring, then was suspended for Bama’s first four games in 2015. And B.J. Emmons is one of the highest-rated players in the Tide’s 2016 recruiting class.

Regardless of which player eventually becomes the starter, expect a more balanced workload in the Alabama backfield this fall.