Webb is now conditioned to running races where the pace is fast and allows him to make a middle move and draw the sting out of the kickers like Lagat and Ramzi. He does not know how to respond to a race that is not made by a pacemaker or is not fast . This is why he looked so confused and tentative in the semi-final and final. In the big races like the worlds and the olympics, no one is going to accomodate him and give him a pace that puts him at an advantage. Notice how Korir sprinted at the start to get position but refused to move into lane one and take the lead; this forced Webb, who also sprinted off the line to get position, to take the lead or get boxed in. Webb was done right there. Lagat just tucked in behind him and let him, Korir, and Kiprop do all the pacemaking work which set it up perfectly for him.
In addition to the pace and tactics of the race not favoring Webb, he was also compromised by his racing schedule; he ran a 3:30 1,500 on 7/6, then a 4:46 mile on 7/21, and finally, a 1:43 800 on 7/28. Many thought that he was perfectly prepared for Osaka, but this was not the way to be at your peak at the end of August. Three world-leading races within 4 weeks was too much. A runner only has so many races of that quality in him in one season. If the goal was to win the 1,500 in Osaka, then the month of July was fool's gold for Webb. In contrast, look at how Lagat used the races that he ran leading up to Osaka so that he peaked in the end of August. Two different strategies from two different levels of experience. Webb has the talent but lacks the experience and focus for the worlds and the olympics. If he wants to win in those venues, he will have to stop chasing records and fast times in the season of those events and work to prepare himself for tactical, rabbit-less racing.