Football is a game of inches, and for a team to win they need every advantage possible. One way to gain an advantage on defense is to create confusion for the offense. More specifically, in a 5-3 defense there are certain methods a team can use to create confusion that can lead to a game-winning play.
Use defensive line stunts in a 5-3 defense to confuse the offense. Defensive line stunts are where one to all five of the defensive linemen loop under or over each other when they are rushing the quarterback. For instance, a defensive end would rush to the inside while at the same time the defensive tackle on the same side would loop around and attack the quarterback from the outside thereby creating confusion for the blocking scheme of the offense.
Employ a zone blitz in the 5-3 defense. A zone blitz is where a defensive lineman drops into coverage as a linebacker takes his place and rushes the quarterback. The zone blitz can bring any number of defensive players on a blitz and at the same time drop any number of players into coverage. This causes confusion and uncertainty for an offense as to which players are rushing the quarterback on a given play.
Play linebackers at the defensive line position. There is no rule that states a specific player must play a certain position. Therefore a team could use eight linebackers in 5-3 formation if they so choose. Typical teams use less than eight but even an extra linebacker or two will create uncertainty before the snap of the football.
Apply play call variations in the 5-3 defense. To create confusion for the offense in a 5-3 defense a team can call a full blitz one play and then full coverage the next. They key to creating confusion is to make sure the offense never knows what play call is coming on each play.